Contrary to the perception of a landslide win for BJP in the UP civic elections, the number of seats in which the party lost its deposit (3,656) was significantly higher than the number of seats it won (2,366). That means about 45% of all the candidates it put up in the elections failed to secure their deposit. The numbers were even worse in the case of the other major parties.

An analysis of the data from the three-tiered urban bodies poll also shows that the BJP’s vote share across all the posts up for grabs in the polls was 30.8%, with its share in the contests for members of nagar panchayats – the lowest of the three tiers – a mere 11.1%.

The BJP had put up more candidates than any other party in these polls by contesting 8,038 of the 12,644 seats for which results were announced. It ended up with almost half of them losing their deposits. Indeed, at the nagar panchayat member level, while 664 of its candidates won, more than twice as many, 1,462 to be precise, lost their deposits (see graphic).

The proportion of candidates who lost deposits was even higher for SP, BSP and Congress at 54%, 66% and 75% respectively. But then nobody has suggested that any of these parties has scored a famous victory.

One reason for the surprisingly low vote share of the BJP in the polls for nagar palika parishad members and nagar panchayat members is certainly that the party contested only about twothirds of the seats in the nagar palika parishads and a little over half in nagar panchayats. Even so, the 16% and 11% shares achieved would worry the party.

Comparisons with the 2012 elections for these urban bodies are rendered meaningless by the fact that neither SP nor BSP contested the polls. The polls were thus reduced to contests between BJP, Congress, minor parties and independents supported by the major ones. But in the 2006 polls, for instance, he SP had contest less than 40% of nagar panchayat members seats and garnered 13% of the vote.

Incidentally, even in the mayoral contests in 16 big cities, the 41% vote share garnered by the BJP represents a significant come down from the levels of about 48.5% recorded in these Lok Sabha constituencies in 2014. But given the fact that smaller parties and independents become more relevant in a local election than in parliamentary polls that would be not much of a worry for the BJP. The much reduced vote shares in the smaller towns and cities would be.