In UP, Ghosi bypoll to be 1st face-off between INDIA, NDA | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

In UP, Ghosi bypoll to be 1st face-off between INDIA, NDA

By, Lucknow
Aug 30, 2023 04:46 AM IST

The bypoll in Ghosi constituency has become a battle between the NDA and the newly formed INDIA alliance, with only two major candidates in the fray.

A September 5 bypoll in eastern Uttar Pradesh has turned into an electoral battle between the National Democratic Alliance and the newly formed Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) with only two major candidates in the fray and a high-voltage campaign being led by senior leaders from both sides.

Dara Singh Chauhan (ANI)
Dara Singh Chauhan (ANI)

The Ghosi constituency in UP’s Mau district was vacated by former state minister Dara Singh Chauhan, who won the seat on a Samajwadi Party (SP) ticket in 2022 but quit the party last month and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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Chauhan – an other backward classes (OBC) leader who initially quit the BJP months before the 2022 assembly elections returned to the BJP fold – is also backed by NDA constituents Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), NISHAD party and Apna Dal (Sonelal)

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Facing him is the SP’s Sudhakar Singh, backed by the Congress, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India-Marxist, Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist), Apna Dal (K) and Janata Dal (United) – making him the de-facto INDIA group candidate. Singh is also supported by the Suheldev Swabhiman Party (SSP), a splinter group of the SBSP.

The third force in UP, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), has neither fielded a candidate nor extended its support to either aspirant.

SP chief Akhilesh Yadav displayed a show of strength by campaigning in Ghosi on Tuesday while chief minister Yogi Adityanath is likely to hit the ground on September 2.

The RLD, JD (U), and SSP are also campaigning for the SP candidate.

“Our state president Ramashish Rai is leading the RLD campaign in Ghosi,” said RLD national spokesperson Anil Dubey.

On the NDA side, it is Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), NISHAD party and Apna Dal (S). The SBSP is extensively campaigning for the BJP candidate.

Chauhan won the seat as an SP candidate in 2022 by 22,000 votes. In 2017, BJP’s Phagu Chauhan won it by 7,000 votes. This time, the SP is trying to blame Chauhan for forcing the bypoll.

“An elected lawmaker quitting to join another party is still okay but what people say isn’t okay if the same leader having forced a bypoll now telling the voters to elect him by praising a party he was opposing all through.

If the polls are free and fair, the SP candidate would sail through easily,” said SP national secretary Ram Asrey Vishwakarma.

While campaigning for the BJP candidate, the deputy chief minister and BJP leader Brajesh Pathak said: “The SP candidate is going to forfeit his deposit and the BJP will have a landslide victory.

The SP and allies are also dubbing Chauhan an outsider to Ghosi and Sudhakar Singh a native.

Singh is a two-time lawmaker, who last won the Ghosi seat in 2012. Before 2022, Chauhan had never contested from the seat.

Out of the 440,000 voters, 150,000 are OBCs. They include 60,000 Rajbhars, 40,000 Chauhans and 40,000 Yadavs.

The second biggest group of voters is Muslims, who number roughly 90,000. There are also a sizable number of Dalits (roughly 60,000). The constituency has around 77,000 upper-caste Hindus -- 45,000 Bhumihars, 16,000 Rajputs and 6,000 Brahmins.

As the SP has fielded Singh, a Rajput, it is attempting to attract backwards, Dalits and Muslims to its social coalition.

As the BSP is not contesting and the Congress is supporting the SP candidate, Singh is confident of getting the Muslim support, and has roped in controversial former legislator Mukhtar Ansari’s family into the campaign.

The swing vote might be from the Dalit communities. With the BSP not in the fray, both sides are vying for the support of the Dalits.

Calling the election, one that will “create history”, former CM Akhilesh Yadav during a rally in Ghosi said, “I thank all the parties which are supporting the SP in this by-election. This decision of all parties will bring a big change in the politics of the country. This election will create history. It message will go to the entire country. The India alliance is united. The BJP is nervous from the unity of the alliance.”

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    Pankaj Jaiswal is Chief of Bureau, Uttar Pradesh and covers politics. His continued interest in rural, distress, and development journalism, fetched him a handful of prestigious awards and fellowships. Pankaj is a photo-journalist too and tweets at @augustus29lotus

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