To regain lost ground, Maya plays the “Bijnor’s daughter” card

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Lucknow: Bijnor, the sugar bowl of western Uttar Pradesh, is witnessing a bitter struggle between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress for the eight assembly seats in the districts.

To regain lost ground in the district that was once a stronghold of her party, BSP leader Mayawati played the ‘daughter of Bijnor’ card. After the BSP was launched in 1984, Mayawati made his political debut in Lok Sabha from the Bijnor seat in 1989, defeating BJP candidate Mangal Ram Premi.

Then the BSP mobilized its cadres to make Bijnor a stronghold of the party. Recalling the event, Dalit ideologue Anant Rao Akela said BSP founder Kanshi Ram called on party workers to visit Dalit households in the district and donate to the party coffer after the candidate in Congress Meera Kumar beat Mayawati in the Bijnor Lok poll. Sabha siege was held in 1985. Kanshi Ram’s appeal mobilized Dalits and soon BSP flags were flown in Dalit households in the district. In the 1989 general election, Mayawati won the seat, he said.

In the 2007 assembly elections, the BSP won all seven seats in Bijnor district. Under the SP wave in 2012, the BSP won four seats while the BJP and SP won two seats respectively. In the 2017 parliamentary elections, when the saffron wave swept the state, the BJP won six seats while the SP won two. The BSP failed to open its account in the district.

Addressing public meetings in Saharanpur, Amroha and Bareilly in the first week of February, the BSP leader played the “daughter of Bijnor” card. “The people of Bijnor say that I belong to their land, I am their daughter. The people of West UP have played an important role in the strength of BSP,” she said.

The BSP is working on a Dalit-Muslim alliance to secure victory in Bijnor. Among the eight District Assembly seats, BSP fielded four Muslim candidates, Haji Ziyauddin Ansari from Noorpur, Shakeel Hashmi from Chandpur, Shahnawaz Alam from Najibabad and Mohammad Ghazi from Barhpaur seat, two Dalits Brajpaland Priya Singh from Nagina seats and Nehtaur and Ruchi. Vira from Bijnore seats while Thakur Moolchand Chauhan received a ticket from Dhampur assembly seat.

Samajwadi party fielded MPs Tasleem Ahmed from Najibabad seat and Manoj Kumar Paras from Nagina seat. Swami Omvesh was lined up from Chandpur seat, Ram Avtar Singh from Noorpur, Naimul Hasan from Dhampur and Kapil Kumar from Barhapur seat. Two seats Nehtaur and Bijnor were allocated to alliance partner RLD.

To retain its grip in the region, the BJP has lined up former MP Bharatendra Singh, a scion of the Bijnor royal family, from the Najibabad assembly seat. Chandra Prakash Singh, brother of former MP Lokendra Singh who died in a road accident in 2018, was lined up from Noorpur seat and incumbent MPs Kunwar Sushant Singh from Barhapur, Ashok Kumar rana from Dhampur, Om Kumar from Nehtaur, Such Chaudhary from Bijnor and Kamlesh Saini from the assembly headquarters in Chandpur.

Addressing a public meeting in Bijnor on Thursday, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath appealed to the people to support the BJP, saying that the dual-powered BJP government had started several development projects in the region, worked for the well- be farmers and established the rule of law.

SP leader Akhilesh Yadav raised the issue of the delay in paying arrears to sugarcane growers, the death of farmers during the agitation against the three farm laws and the great migration of people during the Covid pandemic, at a public meeting in the district on Thursday.

Located on the border of Uttarakhand, Bijnor is also the country of Vidura, a character from the epic Mahabharata, described as the prime minister of the kingdom of Kuru. Local people had raised the demand to develop the birthplace of Vidura as a tourist spot, said AK Chaudhary, a teacher at Bijnor government college.

Voting for 55 seats in nine West UP constituencies, including Bijnor, will be held in the second phase on February 14.


  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Rajesh Kumar Singh is a special correspondent at HT Lucknow. It covers State Department of Interior, State Police, Central Police Agencies, BSP, Department of Health, UP Chief Electoral Officer, Department of Irrigation , mines and Lokayukta.
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