RANCHI: In the recent civic polls in Jharkhand, the ruling BJP won most of the seats but its performance was poor in the areas where lynching or violence was conducted by gangs of cow vigilantes in the recent past.
The saffron party won 10 out of 10 seats of mayors and deputy mayors in 5 municipal corporations in as many cities. But out of 26 seats of Chairman and Vice Chairman in 13 Nagar Panchayats (semi-urban areas), BJP could win only 15 seats. Its performance was worse in towns where elections for Nagar Parishads were held. Out of 32 seats of Chairman and Vice Chairman in 16 Nagar Parishads, BJP could win only 11 seats.
The civic polls were held on 16th April and results were announced on 20th April.
Some of the Nagar Parishad and Nagar Panchayat areas where BJP performed poorly included those areas where brutal gangs of gau rakshaks, with support of Hindu-right groups, had carried out violence in the name of cow or beef. Some people were even lynched by the mob.
In Ramgarh district, meat trader Alimuddin Ansari was lynched by a mob in June 2017. His vehicle was also torched. On 16th March this year, all 11 accused persons, including local leaders from Bajrang Dal and BJP, were convicted for the murder of Ansari. And on 21st March, they were awarded life sentence by the fast-track court in Ramgarh. In the polls for Ramgarh Nagar Parishad, BJP lost both seats of Chairman and Vice Chairman to AJSU (All Jharkhand Students Union).
In Koderma district, dozens of Muslim homes were ransacked and vehicles torched by a mob in a planned way on the suspicion of consumption of beef at a wedding party. The attack was carried out on 17th April, just a day after the polling for Koderma Nagar Panchayat. Here, BJP lost the post of Chairman to AJSU and Vice Chairman to RJD of Lalu Prasad.
In Latehar district, two persons, including a minor, were lynched and their bodies were hanged to a tree in March 2016. They were carrying their cattle to a village market place. The case is in pending in the court. In the recent Latehar Nagar Panchayat poll, BJP won the post of Chairman but the post of Vice Chairman was won by an Independent candidate.
However, in Jamtara Nagar Panchayat, BJP won both posts of Chairman and Vice Chairman. In October 2016, a young man Minhaj Ansari was arrested by police for sharing a photo of beef on WhatsApp. He was allegedly brutally assaulted by cops and some villagers in the police custody. He died at hospital.
Away from Jharkhand, BJP had lost Lok Sabha by-poll in Alwar of Rajasthan in February this year. In the last one year, Alwar had earned notoriety for several lynching and violence by gau rakshaks. Pahlu Khan’s case had hit national headlines. Haryana dairy farmer, Khan, 55, was lynched here in April 2017 when he was on way home from Jaipur after purchasing cows and calves from a government-run cattle market.