UP elections 2017: BSP appears strong in 3/4 Jhansi seats, BJP & SP-Congress in race too
BJP is its main opponent in Jhansi Nagar and SP may put up a good show in Mauranipur and Garautha. In Babina, the contest seems to be between the BJP and SP.
SP had earlier finalised the name of Shyam Sunder, an ex-MLC, as its Babina candidate, but after the feud in SP’s first family, Akhilesh Yadav gave the ticket to Yashpal Yadav, son of local strongman Chanderpal.
Chanderpal, SP national treasurer since the inception of the party, is a Rajya Sabha member. He contested and lost the LS polls in 2014 to Uma Bharati from Jhansi. Chanderpal, who started out as a teacher, has been an MLA from Garautha and once represented Jhansi in the Lok Sabha. He contested from Babina in 2007 and 2012, but lost to BSP. Locals say Yashpal is yet to be tested, but praise him for campaigning hard.
BJP has fielded Rajiv Paricha from Babina. Belonging to the Jadaun caste, he is banking on the cadre votes as his community has a miniscule presence. KS Rajput, a Lodh, is the BSP candidate and the sitting MLA. There are some 40,000 Lodhs in this constituency. While Bharati, who belongs to this caste, has been asked to convince the community to vote for the BJP, the caste may divide its vote between the BJP and BSP.
Yadavs are about 35,000 while Kushwahas are close behind. The buzz is that Chanderpal has ensured the backing of Muslims for his son by reaching out to the clerics. The BJP is wooing the Kushwaha votes with the help of state unit chief Keshav Maurya. “Yadavs here are strong in tan, dhan and gun (body, wealth and arms),” a grocer said.
Most locals say Akhilesh has been a good CM and insist the votes to SP will go because of him. The BJP supporters, especially traders, swear by the PM. The BJP is putting up a good fight in Jhansi Nagar where Ravi Sharma, a Brahmin and the sitting MLA, has been fielded by the party.
Sitaram Kushwaha is the BSP candidate and locals say he would get the Muslim votes. The Muslims, Kushwahas and Jatavs form a sizable chunk here. “Last time, the SP fielded a Muslim and this divided their votes between the SP and BSP, leading to a BJP win. This time, the Muslims are backing the BSP,” a pan shop owner said. Locals have already written off Congress’ nominee Rahul Rai, of the Kalhar caste (engaged in selling liquor), as a weak candidate.