Sitting BJP MLAs unpopular in Uttar Pradesh, finds fact finding team sent from Mumbai

The feedback was collected by a team from Mumbai sent by BJP/RSS to the battleground state of Uttar Pradesh

Sitting BJP MLAs unpopular in Uttar Pradesh, finds fact finding team sent from Mumbai

Naveen Kumar/ Mumbai

Hundreds of BJP and RSS workers from other states have spread out in Uttar Pradesh, confirms Sanjay Pandey from Mumbai. He is leading a 125-member group from the city, who are all Mumbai residents for years but who hail originally from 54 assembly constituencies in nine districts. “Before leaving for UP, we attended training sessions and among others, former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis also spent time with us,” confides Pandey.

One of the group members Santosh Thakur was in Sultanpur, where four out of the five assembly seats happen to be with the BJP. But Thakur admits that neither party workers nor the people seemed happy with the sitting BJP MLAs. While there is anger among some sections of the voters, other sections seemed appreciative of Modi and Yogi having "put Muslims in their place". Muslims, adds Thakur, did not seem to be enthusiastic about Owaisi.

The feedback received by the team of Arjun Gupta, originally from Ayodhya but touring in Kanpur Dehat, is similar. While sitting BJP MLAs are not popular among people, he found considerable support for both Modi and Yogi. This group seemed to think that educated and affluent Muslims were favourably inclined towards BJP while the poorer and less literate sections seemed to be supporting Owaisi.

Sitting BJP MLAs unpopular in Uttar Pradesh, finds fact finding team sent from Mumbai

The team touring Unnao, informed Kapilraj Verma and Dr Ramashankar Bharati, organised a ‘picnic’ on Makar Sankranti when Dalits cooked Khichdi and everyone had food together. A large section of people, they claimed, have benefitted from welfare schemes and hence the party’s prospects seemed better, though here too the sitting MLAs would not win any popularity contest.

Every assembly constituency has seen an increase of first-time voters. As many as 20,000-25,000 voters have swelled the electorate in each constituency, they informed. They would vote for the BJP, is their feedback.

All the teams concede that stray cattle is an issue that seemed to have infuriated farmers. But while villagers are receiving Rs.900 per month to feed the cattle, they are letting the cattle loose once they outlive their utility.

Many of the volunteers admit that having lived in Mumbai for decades, they found the biting cold in northern plains unbearable. They also admitted that many of them hope the BJP would field them in the Mumbai municipal corporation election, the real reason why they agreed to travel to UP and collect feedback. They spoke to people from all walks of life, from the chaiwallah to the local grocer and businessmen.

(This article was first published in National Herald on Sunday)

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