Congress MP P L Punia’s son, Tanuj, who had contested from the same seat in 2017 Assembly election and had lost to BJP’s Upendra Singh by nearly 30,000 votes, is once again in the fray. Interestingly, Tanuj had lost to Upendra again in Lok Sabha elections in March this year when he contested against him from Barabanki parliamentary constituency. Upendra, later, vacated Zaidpur Assembly seat, leading to the bypoll.
Other candidates in the fray include BJP’s Amrish Rawat, BSP’s Akhilesh Kumar Ambedkar and Samajwadi Party’s Gaurav Kumar Rawat – all first-timers.
BSP’s Akhilesh Ambedkar has served as party district president for Lucknow and also as BSP president Mayawati’s Officer on Special Duty (OSD) during her CM tenure between 2007 and 2012. BJP’s Amrish Rawat, who has RSS background, will be relying much on the party wave in favour and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name to sail through. In 2015, he had contested Zila Panchayat election but lost.
Samajwadi Party’s candidate, Gaurav Kumar Rawat, had joined the party two years ago and will be making his electoral debut. He owns a petrol pump in the district. According to SP district chief Aijaz Ahmad, Gaurav is considered close to party veteran Beni Prasad Verma.
Zaidpur Assembly constituency has around 3.69 lakh voters with 1 lakh Muslim voters, followed by around 70,000 Kurmi (OBC) voters. There are around 67,000 Rawat (SC) voters and 42,000 Yadavs (OBC) voters, followed by 32,000 Gautam (SC) voters. There are 15000 voters belonging to upper castes, including Thakurs and Brahmins.
According to SP district chief Ahmad, Kurmis and Rawats will decide the outcome of the election, considering their demographic potential, provided there is no wave in favour of any party.
Congress leader PL Punia said that local issues and personal reach of the candidate will be the deciding factor. To campaign for his son, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel also addressed a rally in the constituency. Punia saud that several projects started by the UPA government before 2014, like a trauma centre and a government polytechnic building were stopped by the present government and people have started to understand these things.