The ruling party won a mere 18 per cent of the votes in the former and 12 per cent in the latter, losing to Independents.
The story of the UP municipal poll results is an instructive one, although the headline news — of the impressive win of the BJP in 14 of the 16 municipal corporations — has quite appropriately drawn national attention.
This has naturally led top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah, to seek to exploit the news to shore up morale in the saffron camp in Gujarat, where apparently there is a ding-dong poll battle on.
The most noteworthy aspect of the municipal results is that electronic voting machines (EVMs) were used only in the corporation polls in the principal cities of the state, where the ruling BJP gave all comers a licking. However, EVMs were not used for polls to municipal councils and municipal panchayats, which constitute the lower tiers of urbanisation. In these, paper ballots were used. And the results are revealing.
The ruling party won a mere 18 per cent of the votes in the former and 12 per cent in the latter, losing to Independents. Traditionally, municipal elections are not fought on a party basis, but the BJP sought to make a sharp point and chose to contest using its lotus symbol.
Such a drastic difference in result caused by the use of EVMs versus the traditional ballot paper method has deepened doubts among many about the impartiality of the EVM as an instrument. Voting had to be suspended in Meerut for some time as any button being pressed on the EVM machine was recording the vote for the BJP, and no other party. A law and order situation was averted. And this is the lesson to take for political parties contesting the Gujarat poll.