Not that the poll battle in this western UP seat with a size able Muslim population has ever been uninteresting, but election this time around has become more engaging with BJP looking to exploit “fissures” in the SP-Congress alliance and RLD and BSP posing them some serious challenge. Sitting BJP MLA Laxmikant Bajpai, who is also the party candidate for the seat, says he is confident of winning the seat for the fifth time. He has represented the constituency in 1989, 1996, 2002 and 2012.
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Meerut city is set to witness rallies by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for BJP while by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav go stumping in favour of SP-Congress candidate in the coming days. Referring to the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance for the state polls, for which the two parties have come together contesting 298 and 105 seats respectively, he said its a “mismatched coalition” stitched only to wrest power.
“The coalition in itself demonstrates their (Cong’s and SP’s) weakness. Congress had started with ’27 saal, Uttar Pradesh behaal’ and projected Sheila Dikshit its chief ministerial candidate. But even before the elections began, it has surrendered before SP. It is such a coalition that Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is the founder of SP, does not support,” Bajpai told PTI.
As for Samajwadi Party, its candidate Rafeeq Ansari trashes Bajpai’s argument of a “mismatched alliance”, though he is mindful of the fact that he had lost to him in the 2012 Assembly polls by 6,000 votes. “Even though I lost the election last time, I kept working for the people and they know of my dedication. I am neither a goonda nor a very rich man. I am just one of the common people and that is why they are supporting me,” Ansari says.
Uttar Pradesh gave the BJP and its ally a whopping 73 out of 80 seats in 2014 Lok Sabha elections when Bajpai was the party’s state unit chief. Analysts then said the party had benfitted from the polarisation in the wake of the Muzaffarnagar riots.