Rahul Gandhi speaks to supporters during an election rally in Jewar. AFP/Prakash Singh
Even as the political picture in Uttar Pradesh got clear by afternoon, Bhatta village, which falls under the Jewar Assembly seat, did not know how to react. “It's a mixed bag,” said Asharam (40).
Rahul’s trysts with Bhatta and his run-ins with the Mayawati administration failed to work magic and could not ensure victory for Congress candidate Thakur Dhirendra Singh from the Jewar seat.
“But we have reasons to feel good. Look at the larger picture. Mayawati is out of power. Sukoon to milo hai,” Asharam said.
BSP's Vedram Bhati defeated Singh by a margin of 9,502 votes. Bhati got 67,469 votes, while Singh could only secure 57,967. Vijendra Bhati of the Samajwadi Party got 35,138 votes.
The Bhatta anti-land acquisition agitation of May 2011 proved to be almost a non-issue as farmer leader Manveer Singh Tevatia (JD-U) and BJP had to forfeit their security deposits. Even in Bhatta village, BSP got 212 votes, while Congress got only 176.
The BSP has won Jewar for the third consecutive time.
Congress could exploit neither the anti-incumbency factor nor the farmers' agitation as BSP also retained the nearby Dadri seat.
When the turnout in the two seats went up by 15%, many said it was a vote for change.
“But people voted on caste lines. Biradari is still everything for them. They felt other Gujjar candidates might not win. They voted for Gujjar candidates of BSP,” said Bhatta village head Om Veer Singh.
In Dadri, which comprises Noida Extension area where a farmers’ agitation halted construction of 2.5 lakh flats as well as Mayawati's native village Badalpur, sitting BSP MLA Satveer Gujjar defeated BJP's Nawab Singh Nagar by a margin of 37,297 votes. Satveer got 81,137 votes, while Nawab could manage only 43,840 votes.
In Patwari, on of the most ‘agitating’ Noida Extension villages, Congress got only 37 votes, while BSP got 185 votes.
At Ghodi Bachheda in Dadri, six farmers, seeking greater compensation, were killed in police firing in 2008. But from this village, too, Congress got only 24 votes, while BSP managed 72.
Despite the BSP candidate retaining the Dadri seat, Badalpur wore a deserted look. “We had booked a DJ. Fire-crackers and sweets had been arranged to celebrate the victory. But since election results threw the BSP out of power, we cancelled everything,” said Raj Singh (33), a villager.
BSP got 1,245 votes in Badalpur, while BJP, Congress and SP together could get only 268 votes.