Uttar Pradesh: Why the battle for Ghosi is so intense
How a backward area of Purvanchal in Uttar Pradesh is witnessing a battle of prestige between the ruling BJP and the Opposition INDIA bloc
With campaigning for the Ghosi assembly byelection coming to an end on 3 September evening, speculation is rife about how polling will pan out. In fact, the byelection in this backward area of Purvanchal in Uttar Pradesh has become a battle of prestige between the ruling BJP and the Opposition bloc.
Polling is scheduled to for 5 September, and results will be declared on 8 September.
The Samajwadi Party has already sought the Election Commission's intervention, alleging that minority voters in the region were being threatened and money being distributed openly among Dalits. With all of the INDIA parties supporting the Samajwadi Party, which has fielded its candidate against the BJP, the fight is certainly not one-sided.
Also Read: The odds before the INDIA alliance
Why such interest in a by-poll?
The Ghosi byelection is in news primarily because this is the fourth time in the last six years since 2017 that elections are being held to this seat, with the BJP having won twice.
Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati, a silent spectator until now, has suddenly given a strange message to her cadre: abstain from voting, or if you go to the polling booth at all, press the NOTA button. This last-minute message has given an interesting twist to the contest, in a constituency with over 90,000 Scheduled Caste voters, though BSP has not fielded a candidate.
NDA versus INDIA here?
The byelection is also very important from a political point of view because Dara Singh Chauhan, an influential leader who was once with the BSP, then the BJP, and later with the Samajwadi Party, has rejoined the BJP.
Also, with an eye on the Lok Sabha elections of 2024, the bypoll is being seen as a battle between the NDA and the INDIA bloc, which would like to show its strength by defeating the BJP. Both sides know very well that victory here can have immense psychological impact.
How serious the two alliances are about the elections can also be gauged from the fact that not only are the heads of both parties engaged in campaigning, but other parties in the alliance are also putting in a tremendous effort.
Who have campaigned?
Uttar Pradesh cabinet ministers A.K. Sharma, Swatantra Dev Singh, Baby Rani Maurya, Dharmveer Prajapati, Surya Pratap Shahi, Narendra Kashyap, Dayashankar Singh, MoS for minority welfare Danish Azad, Vijay Laxmi Gautam, Nand Gopal Nandi, Ravindra Jaiswal, Girish Yadav, JPS Rathore, Dayashankar Dayalu and many others campaigned for BJP candidate Dara Singh Chauhan.
BJP ally SBSP national president Om Prakash Rajbhar and Nishad Party national president and cabinet minister Sanjay Nishad also made appearances.
SP general secretary Shivpal Yadav also camped in Ghosi and held several chaupals and meetings over seven days. SP state president Naresh Uttam, Samajwadi Party national general secretary Ram Achal Rajbhar, Ramgopal Yadav, MLA Durga Prasad Yadav, MLA Akhilesh Yadav, former minister Ram Govind Chaudhary, former minister Ziauddin Rizvi, former MLA Ghazala Lari, Kajal Nishad went door-to-door in favour of Sudhakar Singh.
Congress district president Intekhab, former state secretary Rashtra Kunwar Singh, former MLA Naseem Ahmed, Samajwadi Jan Parishad state president Bikrama Maurya and Aam Aadmi Party leaders were also seen seeking votes in support of Sudhakar Singh.
Be vigilant: Akhilesh’s message to cadre
As the campaign ended, SP president Akhilesh Yadav issued a note on social media and appealed to party workers and the people of Ghosi to be especially vigilant until election results are out. He said: “Today, I want to say something special to the voters of Ghosi. Ghosi has never seen such a contest before. The people across the country, plagued by inflation, corruption and atrocities of BJP, feel that the people of Ghosi will defeat the BJP and give a message to the whole country and that they will defeat the defectors and teach a lesson to the BJP that buys other parties’ MLAs.”
The SP head said: "Not only during voting, but even after that, keep a close watch on your votes till the results are out on 8 September."
During the Rampur by-election, allegations of police not allowing a certain community of voters to come out to vote had been levelled by SP, which had unexpectedly lost the seat, considered its stronghold.