Wednesday, Jul 06, 2022
Outlook.com

How UP Election Is Shifting From Bilateral To Multilateral Contests In Final Phases

The huge crowd in BSP rallies and campaigning by Mayawati and Satish Chandra Mishra has also gained a lot of ground for party candidates.

A supporter holds a cut-out of BSP's Mayawati during a meeting ahead of UP polls in Ghaziabad.
A supporter holds a cut-out of BSP's Mayawati during a meeting ahead of UP polls in Ghaziabad. PTI

A mundane buzz coexists with the noise of the ongoing elections in Azamgarh that has gathered some curious dynamics. 

Each of the ten constituencies in the Azamgarh district presents different metrics and caste equations, but one can’t predict the outcome of even one constituency.  

Besides, many other districts that are going for election on Thursday in the sixth phase – Ambedkar Nagar, Siddharthnagar, Basti, Maharjganj, Kushinagar --- are witnessing tough fights. 

The seat of Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party’s (BSP) O P Rajbhar in Zahoorabad in Ghazipur district also sees a tough fight. The BSP has fielded Shadab Fatima, an MLA from the constituency in 2012, who is likely to get both Muslim and Dalit votes. While BJP’s Kalicharan Rajbhar, the defected candidate from BSP is driving some of the traditional Rajbhar votes of OP Rajbhar. This has made things tougher for O P Rajbhar. Same is happening in Shivpur, in Varanasi district where OP Rajbhar's Son, Arvind Rajbhar is contesting against BJP's Anil Rajbhar. 

The Fazil Nagar constituency, from where Swami Prasad Maurya, a former minister in the Yogi Adityanath government is contesting, too, is witnessing a similar kind of situation. Three-time MLA from Padrauna Vidhan Sabha of Kushinagar, Maurya is facing a trilateral battle. BJP’s Surendra Kushwaha, son of current two-time MLA Ganga Singh Kushwaha and Ilyas Ansari, a disgruntled SP member, now contesting on BSP’s ticket – both are taking Maurya’s sleep away. 

“It is because of the resurgence of BSP in later phases,” said Senior journalist Kurram Alam Nomani. “I had not thought that BSP would gain ground so fast in each constituency. You go to any constituency; you will see a tough fight.” 

He gives an example of Mubarakpur, “It is a Muslim majority constituency and Shah Alam, who was MLA on BSP ticket in 2017 assembly election, now contesting from All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen – is not a sure shot winner, despite a lot of following. "The reason is, BSP candidate is also Muslim. And SP candidate, the namesake of Akhilesh Yadav is also a very strong contender. If even 10 per cent of Muslim vote shifts to BSP or SP. Shah Alam’s position will be threatened.” 

The huge crowd in BSP rallies and campaigning by Mayawati and Satish Chandra Mishra has also gained a lot of ground for party BSP candidates. BSP candidates are not shying away from criticizing BJP, indicating that the party is contesting the narrative that “they will support BJP after the election.” 

Abul Qais, a BSP candidate from Phoolpur Pawai, told Outlook, “Law and order were best under Mayawati government. Successive governments destroyed it including BJP. And nobody cared about the development of this constituency. I will take issues of people to the Vidhan Sabha and bring development here.” 

Traditional voters BSP are also determined that they will vote for BSP only – though not many are vocal about it. 80-year-old Faujdar Singh of Sagri Vidhan Sabha said, “Kings should always get changed. If a single person rules all the time. It creates problems for people, especially the poor.” 

The votes of OBC and MBC castes like Lonia, Rajbhar, Maurya, Nishad are not going to one party alone, making it more difficult to predict the outcome. 

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