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Uttar Pradesh Elections: Mirzapur Gears For 'Bipolar' Contest On Monday

Congress, BJP and Samajwadi Party have given tickets to the Brahmin community. In contrast, Samajwadi has a strongman from the Chaurasia community that falls under the OBC category in Uttar Pradesh.

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Uttar Pradesh Elections: Mirzapur Gears For 'Bipolar' Contest On Monday
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The Mirzapur assembly seat is gearing for the voting day on March 7. Every public corner has become a stage for debate and arguments. Caste and religious calculations have started doing round from the city's bylanes to the war rooms of political parties.

Congress, BJP and Samajwadi Party have given tickets to the Brahmin community. In contrast, Samajwadi has a strongman from the Chaurasia community that falls under the OBC category in Uttar Pradesh.

In terms of numbers, Brahmins form around 50,000 of the constituency's population, while Chaurasias constitute 10,000 of the total population. The trading community is often seen as a determining factor in the elections here.

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Mirzapur is one of the district's five Vidhan Sabhas.  Union defence minister Rajnath Singh was elected to the legislature for the first time from this constituency in 1977. He later became the state's, Chief Minister. Candidates from the Sikh community have won four times, Chauarasias have been elected three times while two MLAs were from the Muslim community, one from the Kshatriya caste, and one from the Brahmin community and the Yadav community.

The BJP has reposed its faith in Ratnakar Mishra, the incumbent MLA. The BSP has chosen Rajesh Pandey, the Congress has given a ticket to Bhagwan Dutt alias Rajan Pathak, and the Samajwadi Party has chosen Kailash Chaurasia. The common opinion here is that Chaurasia is in a direct contest with Ratnakar Mishra.

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SP candidate from Mirzapur | Credit: Asad Ashraf/Outlook

Satish Chaurasia, the owner of a pan shop near the Kachahri area, asserts that his vote will go to a party that will work in the nation's interest and keep countries enemy in check.

For Shahrad Mehrotra, a professor at a local college and social activist, the Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb ( The shared culture) is more important than other issues.

"What we have been witnessing in the last couple of years is that there is a gap bridging up between communities based on religion. I think it is the most pressing issue for me; India stands for diversity over anything else; we need to save that idea of India over anything else; if the idea of India is preserved, everything will fall back in place."

Altamash, a local restaurant owner, emphasised again that the most crucial issue for him is communal harmony and prospects of better business opportunities.

" We are common people who want to live in peace and want to vote for those who ensure our safety and prospects of business so that we can lead a better life. Everything comes after that; I will vote for Kailashnath Nath Chaurasia, who has been a known face here and has worked for the people of every community," he tells the Outlook.

Altamash's views were reflected by Shamsheer, a local businessman dealing in garments. "We just want peace and prosperity to prevail, and anyone who can ensure that will be our choice," he said.

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Interestingly, despite AIMIM fielding its candidate on the seat, it has failed to garner enough support for the Muslim community and has been unable to get rid of BJP's 'B team' tag. Both Altamash and Shamsheer believe that Owaisi will only help the BJP.

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An AIMIM supporter in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, ahead of voting on March 7 | Credit: Asad Ashraf/Outlook

For women here, Priyanka Gandhi's 'Ladki hoon lad sakti hoon' tag resonates well, but ironically, there is no women candidate from any political party.

Pooja Tripathi, a student, preparing for the SSC exam, says that while the slogan is good, even Congress has not put up a women candidate in Mirzapur.

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"We do want a better representation of women in politics. And I do agree with Priyanka Gandhi on that. But at the moment, it looks like more of a political tokenism than reality on the ground," Pooja asserts. "Where are the women candidates"? 

In the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly Election, 19 people ran for the assembly seat in Mirzapur. Ratnakar Mishra defeated Kailash Chaurasiya by a massive majority of 57,412 votes.

The top three candidates received 94.2 per cent of the total votes. 

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