One might miss the poll fever almost completely in rural pockets surrounding Farrukhabad, the country’s popular potato belt.
However, as one moved along the narrow lanes of the busy Railway Road locality in Farrukhabad town lined with some shops even selling the ‘prachar cassettes’ (publicity cassettes) especially tailored for polls, the noise of blaring loudspeakers atop mini trucks moving around got somewhat unbearable.
A vociferous campaign is being witnessed in Farrukhabad town with most of the noise being generated by the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress party campaigners. This is not to say that the BJP and Samajwadi Party (SP) had been silent campaigners altogether. Only thing is that their style of publicity has been more sombre as convoys of Tata Sumo, Boleros and the Tata Safari move along silently with banners all over them almost all day.
The leaders of all the four parties when asked about their rigorous campaigning methods, said that they had permission from the Election Commission and were obeying poll code.
However, the prime issue is dominating the minds of the local populace here is not what the campaigns of the BSP, the BJP, the Congress or the SP are projecting through parodies, slogans or publicity material. The issue for them is the law and order problem in Farrukhabad and general lack of confidence over the ruling party’s ability to control crime in the township. Congress candidate from Farrukhabad Assembly constituency Sanjiv Mishra commented: “People in this constituency would generally not complain about basic infrastructure problems such as lack of sufficient power supply or bad roads. The prime issue of concern for them is the rising clout of anti-socials in this peaceful town.
On the caste equations working in the Farrukhabad town, he commented: “Muslims here are fed up with the Samajwadi Party and would look for an alternative. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had been wooing the Muslims but the party hardly has any base in Farrukhabad.”
Mishra said it was very difficult to guage the people’s mood as far as their choice of parties was concerned as no clear picture had emerged so far as to who had an upper edge with campaigning in this potato belt.
Says Kshitij Verma, a PCO owner: “The BJP candidate from Farrukhabad Major Sunil Dutt Dwivedi might spring a surprise by garnering a majority of votes. This could be explained by the weaker position of Congress and BSP and the general disappointment with the Samajwadi Party MLA Vijay Singh who is contesting again from Farrukhabad.
BSP candidate from Farukkhabad Manoj Agarwal already holds the post of Chairman of FarrukhabadNagar Palika.
Voters say Agarwal should not have contested for the Nagar Palika polls if he had the Assembly seat on his mind. The Brahmin and Muslim votes would be a deciding factor in the Farukkhabad making for about 22 and 12 per cent of the total base of three lakh voters.
It is to be seen how Muslims vote this time round as their votes may be split between the Congress and the BSP which would not provide any clear advantage to any party, stated Manoj Srivastava, a lodge owner at Palla bazaar here. Most of the prominent leaders of all major political parties had been campaiging in the Farrukhabad region. However, looking at the turnout, Samajwadi Party rallies have not received the kind of response that was expected in the region, he added.