Lucknow: Ruling Samajwadi Party on Monday suffered a jolt in pockets of Uttar Pradesh with many relatives of ministers and senior leaders losing in the zila panchayat elections while BJP-supported candidates won only in 8 of the 48 seats in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Varanasi constituency.
As ballots cast in the four-phase polling were counted today, Opposition BSP emerged as the surprise front-runner in the elections with most of the candidates it supported, registering victory.
In Varanasi's Jayapur, the village adopted by Modi, BJP candidate Arun Singh was defeated by BSP's Ramesh Tiwari.
The SP claimed to have won 25 seats in Varanasi district while Congress won 2, BSP 3, BJP ally Apna Dal 4 and Independents 6. In the last elections, BJP had won 3 seats.
The panchayat elections are not contested on party symbols and major parties chose not to officially announce the candidates it had endorsed.
Polling was held for 3,112 posts of district panchayats and 77,576 membership post in block panchayats and counting was done at 819 block headquarters amid tight security.
BJP, which had supported candidates in zila panchayat and kshetra panchayat polls for the first time, could not make a significant impact.
The results assume significance as they have come just about a year before the assembly elections.
BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said, "The results indicate that people of the state, especially in villages, have decided to bid goodbye to the corrupt and inefficient Samajwadi Party government."
Accusing the ruling SP of misusing government machinery, he said that a review of the results would be done for which report has been sought from every district.
Samajwadi Party, however, discounted reports of losing the polls with its spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary claiming that the electorate have approved the government's policies and programmes during last three-and-a-half years of its rule.
He said people have rejected BJP in a big way.
In Azamgarh, the Lok Sabha seat represented by SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, the party-supported candidate was defeated even in Tamausi village, which has been adopted by Mulayam.
Asaduddin Owaisi's All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen opened its account in Azamgarh by winning a seat in Maksudia.
State Election Commission said that after holding the elections of the Kshetra and district panchayat members in four phases, it would now prepare for the crucial pradhan and village panchayat polls in four phases from November 27 to December 9 with counting of votes on December 12. Notification for the pradhan polls would be issued on November 7.
Kith and kin of a number of ministers and SP leaders, contesting either for district panchayat or kshetra panchayat membership, were defeated.
Minister Manoj Pandey's brother lost in Rae Bareli while another minister Ram Karan Arya's son was defeated in Basti.
Minister Rampal Singh's both daughters lost in Sitapur.
UP PAACFED chairman Tota Ram Yadav, who was booked on charges of booth capturing, suffered a crushing defeat in district panchayat securing only 412 votes.
Of 28 candidates in fray, he slipped to 20 position.
Here repoll was held at Raipur School pooling booth in Bewar block after Yadav's video went viral.
In Bahraich daughter-in-law of newly-inducted minister Bansidhar Bauddh was defeated.
However, minister Parasnath Yadav's daughter-in-law tasted success in Jaunpur district, while another minister Arvind Singh Gope's elder brother won in Barabanki.
Among stray incidents, police had to use force in Mau when supporters of a candidate created ruckus and allegedly held poll staff captive in Maryadapur ward in Madhuban area.
In Badaun, a returning officer for Zila Panchayat polls accused the SP candidate of beating him up after he was defeated by a BJP-supported candidate in the elections.
In Gonda, Rangilal, a Panchayat election candidate who died three days before polling day, was elected as a member of Ksetra Panchayat after defeating his opponents in Dharmai village.
"Besides, stray incidents, no major incident was reported from anywhere in the state," IG (law and order) A Satish Ganesh told reporters.
He said that incidents have taken place only in eight of 74 districts where counting was held.