"For the first time, sitting Independent MLA Mokhtar Ansari has realised that he can also lose his seat, thanks to the strict measures adopted by the Election Commission and his shady role during the Mau riots," said Janata Dal (United) and BJP alliance candidate Sita Rai summing up the scenario at Mau Sadar constituency.
No wonder, the Mau Sadar seat would not be a cakewalk for Ansari, who is second consecutive time MLA from Mau. Giving him sleepless nights in jail is Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Vijay Bahadur Singh. Not far behind is Sita Rai, daughter-in-law of Late Kalpnath Rai.
Though people of the area have kept their cards close to their chest and were not willing to speak to mediapersons at least on record, said the wind of change had started to blow in the region following Mau riots.
"The role of the sitting MLA during the riots was not at all satisfactory," said an Ayurvedic medicine shopkeeper at Saadatpura. The riots undoubtedly have resulted in polarisation of votes in the region, he added.
Before riots, jailed MLA was never identified by the people here as a person mustering vote bank on religious lines, said another resident of Munshipura. But things have changed after riots. That is why a close contest was being expected between him and the BSP or the JD (U) candidate.
Polarisation, probably would for the first time help the BSP, said Misra ji (Did not reveal his initials), a keen political observer.
Reason, he said, was the fact that the BSP had a cadre vote, which was approximately 18 per cent of the total 3.2 lakh voters, and the same would only go in favour of the BSP.
Thus, other upper caste people were left with no option but to support him, if they wanted to succeed in "Defeat Mokhtar campaign". Besides, the city has over one lakh Muslim votes and around over 1.5 lakh other Hindu caste votes.
However, Sita Rai, who has a strong political background, including, having the distinction of becoming the first women president of Purvanchal University, Mughalsarai, was also not leaving any stone unturned to give a tough fight to the sitting MLA.
Whatever may be the results, one thing is for sure that both Sita and Vijay Pratap Singh are claiming to be in direct contest with Mokhtar. Thus, the jailed MLA was a strong candidate on paper.
Similarly, a close contest was likely at Ghosi between BSP candidate and former BJP MLA Phagu Singh Chauhan and Kalpanath Rai’s daughter Chandralekha Rai, also from JD (U). While a close contest could be seen at Nathupur between SP’s Amresh Pandey and BSP’s Umesh Pandey and between BJP’s Shri Ram Sonker and Rajendra Ram of BSP at Mohammadabad constituency.