Socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia’s birthplace, Ambedkarnagar, has rich agricultural resources, textile units, brick kilns, decent literacy rate and prominent religious hotspots of Kichhauchha Sharif and Shrawan Kshetra.
But it is counted among the most backward areas in the country.
“The small powerlooms are hamstrung by erratic power supply and the many government schemes exist only on paper,” says Haji Kafeel Ansari, a powerloom owner and social worker from Tanda.
With its sizeable Dalit population, Ambedkarnagar has always sent a Dalit to Parliament since 1952, barring once in 2009 when Mayawati’s social engineering experiment paid off and industrialist Rakesh Pandey won.
Pandey, contesting again, is banking on the same factors.
But what was a BSP-SP faceoff is now a triangular contest, with the BJP catching up.
The BJP’s Hari Om Pandey claims traditional voting patterns will be broken and he will win.
Savita Verma, a science graduate from Tekanpur village, buttresses Pandey’s claim: “It doesn’t matter who is representing BJP this time, we will vote for Modi”.
However, SP candidate Ram Murti Verma says, “The BJP won’t make any gains here because of its poor organisational set-up.”
But, he will have to battle anti-incumbency.