Dateline Muzaffarnagar: From high pitched campaign, to simple village chaupal, BJP, SP and BSP in triangular fight - Hindustan Times
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Dateline Muzaffarnagar: From high pitched campaign, to simple village chaupal, BJP, SP and BSP in triangular fight

ByS Raju, Kakra (muzaffarnagar)
Apr 08, 2024 06:57 PM IST

Election campaign in Muzaffarnagar sees contrasting styles: BJP's Balyan with grandeur, SP's Malik with simplicity, and BSP's Prajapati silently reaching out.

The election campaign in Muzaffarnagar constituency is a study of contrasts: of massive fanfare and simplicity.

Union minister and BJP candidate from Muzaffarnagar Sanjeev Balyan (HT FIle Photo)
Union minister and BJP candidate from Muzaffarnagar Sanjeev Balyan (HT FIle Photo)

Union minister and BJP candidate Sanjeev Balyan is striving for a third term and SP candidate Harendra Malik has taken up the gauntlet.

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Meanwhile, making the contest for the seat a visibly triangular fight, BSP candidate Dara Singh Prajapati is also showing his presence.

BJP candidate and union minister Sanjeev Balyan’s campaign from Sarv Khap Chaupal in village Soram of district Muzaffarnagar, was full of fanfare that included horse riders, bands, jeeps, cars, blaring songs, dance and colourful stage set by his followers, villagers and party workers. Arrangements for snacks and tea for mediapersons and guests had also been made.

BJP state president Bhupendra Choudhary, RLD MLA Rajpal Balyan, minister of state government Anil Kumar, and two former MLAs Umesh Malik and Yograj Singh were among many other dignitaries who shared the dais and delivered speeches, seeking votes.

A few kilometres away, Samajwadi Party candidate Haremdra Malik was also campaigning in village Kukra to seek votes in his favour. He arrived in the village barely in two cars, held small meetings with a gathering of villagers and then walked through the village’s alleyways, meeting people and trying to appease those who were said to be annoyed.

Two Dholwalas walked ahead and a youth was carrying a loudspeaker to magnify Malik’s words during his interaction with villagers in the meeting.

BSP candidate Dara Singh Prajapati too silently arrived in villages and met those potential voters, including Dalits, Sainis, and Kashyaps, who could vote for him. For many of these voters, the symbol of ‘Haathi’ was sufficient to support Dara Singh.

In his brief speech, Harendra Malik said, “It’s a battle between Ahankar and Sanskar, and you need to choose this time.” He explained that they had been tortured and exploited by the supporters of Balyan in the past 10 years, but he doesn’t possess those ‘Sanskar’ and had served people in his more than four decades of political career.

He reminds people how 750 farmers died during a 13-month-long movement; police lathi-charged Jayant Choudhary in Hathras but he forgot that and made an alliance with the BJP. Malik also raised issues of unemployment and inflation and enhanced the influence of corporations. He concluded with an appeal that this election was to protect the future generations and the country’s constitution.

On the other hand, the BJP candidate talked about developmental work carried out in his two past terms. Surprisingly, Balyan didn’t mention Ram temple or any religious comments in his campaign. At the Sarv Khap Chuapal of Soram, he said, “I don’t beg or vote in the name of caste and religion but based on my work.”

He explained that the alliance of RLD and BJP has unified two families who were against each other in politics, and this unification will bring more happiness and development in the area. He also didn’t forget to mention ‘Bharat Ratna’ conferred on former PM Chowdhary Charan Singh and said, “this was the base of this alliance”.

BSP candidate Dara Singh, however, raked up the issues of embarrassment and exploitation of lower caste people and appealed to them to get united for a better future.

The campaign is heating up ahead of polling on April 19 on this seat, but voters are keeping the candidates and parties guessing about their mood.

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