Claiming himself to be the reason behind BJP president Rajnath Singh’s decision to contest from Lucknow instead of Ghaziabad, BSP candidate from Ghaziabad Mukul Upadhyay claimed Singh knew he did not stand a chance against him.
Dismissing any “Modi wave” in Ghaziabad, Upadhyay said Singh had destroyed the “image of BJP” in the constituency by carrying out no development work during his tenure as MP.
In his Patel Nagar residence in Ghaziabad, which has a huge banner of BSP chief Mayawati and him at the entrance, Upadhyay emerges from his morning prayers — which he never misses despite his busy schedule — in a hurry to get to Mayawati’s rally in Kavi Nagar’s Ramlila Maidan.
Talking of his family’s proximity to the BSP chief, he says, “We are the first Brahmin family to be associated with the BSP. My brother Ramveer Upadhyay is a senior leader in the BSP while my sister-in-law Seema Upadhyay is the sitting BSP MP from Fatehpur Sikri and is contesting from there again.” His elder brother Vinod Upadhyay has contested Assembly elections on a BSP ticket from Debai in Bulandshahr while his younger brother is a block pramukh.
“In September 2013, I had a huge sammelan. Looking at the response from people, Rajnath decided to run away from contesting from Ghaziabad. He kept promising a ticket to someone from the Vaish Samaj from Ghaziabad but V K Singh landed on a parachute instead,” Upadhyay says.
“Rajnath ne BJP ki chhavi yahaan pe kharab kar di hai (Rajnath has dented the BJP image here). The General (V K Singh) can’t do anything here. People want to see change here now. His influence will be limited to urban belts like Vaishali and Indirapuram. Unhe khali Thakur vote milenge (he will only get Thakur votes),” he says.
On Raj Babbar, the Congress candidate from Ghaziabad, Upadhyay says he hadn’t emerged beyond “filmi glamour”. “He is trying to fool the people of Ghaziabad with his filmi glamour but it won’t work. My sister-in-law defeated him from Fatehpur Sikri in 2009, now her dewar (brother-in-law) will defeat him also,” he says.
He dismisses the AAP’s presence completely. “AAP ka yahaan pe koi wajood nahi hai.”
Confident of victory, Upadhyay says he has been working in Ghaziabad since 2012. “I knew I was a candidate from Ghaziabad two years back and have been working hard. I am no outsider. Four of my brothers have been living here for over 20 years. I know what the issues here. People want the law and order situation to be better for instance as this has prevented business from growing in this area,” he adds.
Referring to how he was chosen by the party to work as a coordinator “to get the Brahmin Samaj together in 2007”, Upadhyay says his brother introduced him to politics in 1996. “I am presently a member of the legislative council from the party and was also the MLA from Iglas in Aligarh for a short time.”
According to his declaration, he has three weapons, including a rifle and gun. A double-barrel gun is registered in his wife’s name. He has declared movable and immovable assets of Rs 2.75 crore and Rs 14 crore in his name and his wife Ritu Upadhyay’s name respectively.