A BJP bastion breached only once in more than 3 decades - Hindustan Times
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A BJP bastion breached only once in more than 3 decades

ByS Raju
Apr 25, 2024 06:24 AM IST

The Bulandshahr reserved constituency in west UP has never been won by the BSP and was snatched from the BJP by SP only once in 2009. The lotus has blossomed here since 1991. This time the SP has left the seat to the Congress.

BULANDSHAHR The Bulandshahr parliamentary constituency, which goes to polls on April 26, is long considered to be the stronghold of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The ruling party has won the seat, reserved for Scheduled Castes, since 1991 and lost only once, in 2009, to the Samajwadi Party.

BJP leaders including defence minister Rajnath Singh, deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and BJP state president Bhupendra Choudhary campaigned for party candidate Bhola Singh . (Pic for representation)
BJP leaders including defence minister Rajnath Singh, deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and BJP state president Bhupendra Choudhary campaigned for party candidate Bhola Singh . (Pic for representation)

BJP candidate Dr Bhola Singh, who won this seat defeating his rivals by big margins in previous elections, is running for a third term this time.

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He is up against Shivram Balmiki of the Congress and Girish Chand Jatav of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) .

He has been facing a strong anti-incumbency mood but is drawing strength from the Modi-Yogi factor for fetching him maximum votes, as the seat has a strong presence of Lodh Rajputs, clansmen of late Kalyan Singh, who are pro-BJP.

The constituency has approximately three lakh Lodh voters and Kalyan Singh, popular as ‘ Babuji’ , was their undisputed leader. The Ram Temple movement in which Kalyan Singh played a pivotal role, further helped the BJP forge a strong bond with them.

Political expert Siyopal Singh ( associated with the Congress for over 15 years and now known as a political commentator) pointed out that PM Narendra Modi held his first rally in Bulandshahr two days after ‘pran pratishtha’ of Ram Lalla in Ayodhya on January 22. “ It was his calculated move to give momentum to the temple issue among followers of one who was flag-bearer of the issue in Uttar Pradesh” said Singh. He claimed that Dr Bhola Singh seemed convinced that people would vote for him in the name of Modi and Yogi, so he was not much perturbed with the anti-incumbency factor.

Rafey- Ul- Talha, a businessman in Syana, said there was a general complaint about Bhola Singh that he seldom visited people to know their problems but still, at the end people said they would vote for the BJP, not because of him but due to Modi and Yogi .

Dr Bhola Singh defeated Pradeep Jatav of BSP by a huge margin of 41.77 percent in 2014 but his margin of victory declined to 25.81 percent against BSP candidate Yogesh Verma in 2019 . His supporters are confident about his victory while rivals anticipate that it would be a fight between the Congrees candidate and him.

Bulandshahr is a reserved seat with 3.5 lakh Muslim voters, 3 lakh Dalit voters , 2 lakh Jat voters, 2 lakh Brahmin voters, 1.5 lakh Thakur voters, 3 lakh Lodh Rajput voters and others.

This Lok Sabha seat has five assembly constituencies: Bulandshahr, Syana, Dibai, Shikarpur and Anoopshahr and all were won by the BJP in the 2022 assembly elections.

Veteran leader Badrul Islam who contested against Kalyan Singh in the 2004 elections and lost by a thin margin of 16,000 votes said, “Voters are silent in this election, hence it is difficult to guess their mood and anything can happen in polling”.

BJP leaders including defence minister Rajnath Singh, deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and BJP state president Bhupendra Choudhary campaigned for Bhola Singh . CM Yogi Adityanath arrived here thrice and appealed to people to support Dr Bhola Singh to ensure his victory.

On the other hand, BSP chief Mayawati and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav addressed election rallies in Sikandrabad (which is in Bulandshahr district but falls under Gautambudh Nagar constituency) where they appealed to people to vote for their respective candidates. No one from the Congress campaigned in support of Balmiki.

Addressing the rally, Mayawati said that the BJP could face defeat if a fair election was held . Both leaders (Mayawati and Akhilesh) targeted the BJP for ignoring real issues.

However, people here raise issues of poor roads, hanging electric wires and stray bovines who damage their crops. Parvinder Sirohi of Saidpur village said, “Stray cows and bulls are a big issue as they frequently damage crops”.

PAST RESULTS

2019 elections

BJP- Bhola Singh- 6,81,321

BSP- Yogesh Verma- 3,91,264

INC- Banshi Singh- 29,465

NOTA- 5,719

Margin of victory- 2,90,057

Turnout- 11,25,000

2014 elections

BJP- Bhola Singh- 6,04,449

BSP- Pradeep Jatav- 1,82,476

SP- Kamlesh Balmiki- 1,28,737

RLD- Anju- 59,116

AAP-Dr Rahul Dipankar- 9 727

NOTA- 6,915

Margin of victory- 4,21,973

Turnout- 10,10,198

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