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BJP Strengthens Women Leadership With Uttar Pradesh Local Body Polls

The party, which already has a fair share of elected women in Parliament and UP assembly, saw its women candidates become the winners with highest vote share and highest margin in mayor elections in Uttar Pradesh

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BJP Mayor winner Sushma Kharkwal with UP CM Yogi Adityanath

It is a fair deal for women in Uttar Pradesh politics, atleast in the BJP. 

Out of the seventeen Bharatiya Janata Party candidates who were elected as mayors in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, six are women and take over the coveted seats with record votes in their favour. This win also strengthens the BJP’s resolve to bring more women into leadership roles in the state. 

The recent win is seen as a tool for strengthening the party’s resolve to have more women in leadership roles in the party, from local to national level. Of the total 31 Rajya Sabha MPs from UP, 25 are from BJP which includes 5 women. These are Seema Dwivedi, Geeta Saket, Sangeeta Yadav, Darshana Singh and Kanta Kardam. Even in the state assembly, BJP is the only party that has women elected as the members of legislative council. 

The Bharatiya Janata Party had fielded six women candidates out of the total seventeen for the UP local body polls, owing to the reservation in these seats. And on Saturday, as the results were announced, these six women became a part of the party’s historic win in the state. The fact that the candidate with the maximum number of votes and the candidate with the biggest margin are both women strengthens women's power in politics. 

Apart from six mayors, BJP’s female candidates have been elected to 44 municipalities and 90 city panchayats in the state. As per the results declared, the mayoral candidate from Lucknow, Sushma Kharwal won by getting 5,02,660 votes in Lucknow, making her the biggest winner in the urban local body polls. She won by a margin of 20,414 votes against her nearest rival Vandana Mishra of Samajwadi Party. 

Other winners for mayor included Sunita Dayal from Ghaziabad, Hemlata Diwakar from Agra, Kamini Rathore from Firozabad, Pramila Pandey from Kanpur and Archana Verma from Shahjehanpur. The biggest victory was reported from Agra, where the BJP candidate Hemlata Diwakar defeated BSP by more than 1.08 lakh votes. 

Meanwhile, the party’s women candidates were also elected to 44 municipal councils in the state. The BJP has also won 88 of 198 municipal council president’s seats of which 44 have gone to female candidates.

It includes one each from Amethi, Amroha, Unnao, Kannauj, Kushinagar, Kanpur Dehat, Kasganj, Kaushambi, Ghazipur, Gonda, Noida, Jalaun, Jaunpur, Jhansi, Deoria, Fatehpur, Balrampur, Bahraich, Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar, Mainpuri, Rampur, Lalitpur, Bijnor, Sonbhadra, two each from Hathras, Etah, Pilibhit, Firozabad, Bareilly, Sitapur, and Banda as well as three each from Badaun and Bulandshahr. The women power of BJP has shown its strength even in the nagar panchayats. A total of 90 BJP women have been elected as Nagar Panchayat presidents. 

Party’s state vice president Vijay Bahadur Pathak feels elated by this win. “We had to field women candidates because of the reservation. But the party has been constantly working at giving equal opportunities to our women workers and cultivating leadership abilities amongst them. The candidates were not randomly chosen, but were carefully decided by the party leadership based on their merit and their connect with the voters.”

Pathak, who has been given the task of strengthening the party’s women wing, said that the local body polls only showed how strongly the party feels towards women leadership. “BJP understands the power of the women population and we strongly believe in giving them a fair share in politics. We have been constantly working towards enabling our women workers to realise their strength and emerge as leaders. The party’s women representation from Parliament to Panchayats is a perfect example of how we see women in power,” he added.