Cabinet minister Madan Kaushik in his office. Vinay S Kumar/ht
In his 10-year-long run as a member of the legislative assembly (MLA), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) heavyweight Madan Kaushik seems to have made more enemies than friends.
The MLA from Haridwar, by mobilising a big force of youth behind him, has evidently annoyed his own partymen who appear to be wanting to settle scores with him.
It seems the leader will first have to battle it out within his saffron fraternity before taking on his rival Congress candidate Satpal Brahmchari in the coming assembly election.
Not only the local BJP office-bearers, affiliates of the saffron brigade too are highly disenchanted with Kaushik. Accusing him of being more interested in mobilising youths in his support, they say he has paid little attention to development works.
BJP office-bearers appear a little reluctant in expressing their disapproval on record but members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) are more forthright.
They openly declare that anti-social elements have taken over the city in the past decade and Kaushik has failed to check it despite being the state cabinet minister.
"People cannot get pure drinking water despite river Ganga flowing right in the middle of the city, not to mention the colossal amount of fund being invested for the same. Sanctity of the holy city of Haridwar too is being threatened with bootlegging of liquor in full swing despite a blanket ban by the state government, all thanks to the minister's supporters involved in illegal liquor business," alleged Virendra Kirtipal, senior VHP office-bearer.
"We will have to cut a sorry figure in the coming elections before the voters as the party has nothing to bank upon on the development front in the city. On the contrary, we have to be answerable to them on Kumbh scam, encroachment and the flourishing land mafia in Haridwar," stated a local BJP office bearer on condition of anonymity.
"All the works he has done were for himself and his near and dear ones. I am yet to see any concrete developmental work done by him throughout his decade-long stint as our representative," said RP Jakhmola, Khanna Nagar Area resident that Kaushik belongs to.
Not everyone is as negative though. There are many who hail him for his accessibility to the public. "He always stands for his people in their times of sorrow and happiness. People like him," said Shiv Prasad Baluni, a local.
However, the admirers seem to be few and far between.
A petrol pump owner, who didn't wish to be named, said, "Kaushik's regime as a legislator has put the party's prospects in question in this assembly election as the public is not convinced with his works."
Interestingly, public anger against the MLA was so intense that a section of Khanna Nagar residents were planning to a raise a hoarding asking him to leave the colony.
They were even ready to repay his house loans if he was willing to go. This was because of the rising levels of hooliganism in the area and dominance of the land mafia in the colony that he failed to check.
On the contrary, Congress candidate Satpal Brahmchari is remembered for his regime of comparatively better-administered Haridwar Municipal Committee although Congress party will have to control dissidence from other ticket seekers.
"We have to accept the party high command's verdict and work unitedly for the organisation," said Sanjay Paliwal, Congress leader.