The Outsiders of Poorvanchal | india | Hindustan Times
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The Outsiders of Poorvanchal

They can't vote for themselves nor can their family members. They don’t even belong to the constituency from which they seek to be elected but want the voters to send them to Parliament.

india Updated: Apr 07, 2009 23:30 IST
Nagendar Sharma

They can't vote for themselves nor can their family members. They don’t even belong to the constituency from which they seek to be elected but want the voters to send them to Parliament.

A majority of big party candidates in all 16 constituencies of Poorvanchal (eastern Uttar Pradesh), which vote on April 16, are outsiders.

There are reasons for such a trend in the region. Delimitation has changed the contours of the constituencies. Hence many leaders, who till the last election were residents of a particular constituency, find themselves not a part of it any more. Secondly, many heavyweights have picked their seats forcing the local leaders to seek mandate outside the home constituency. And finally, winnability is being cited as the biggest reason for political relocation.

In Varanasi, the contest is between the “outsiders and a son of the soil,” as locals put it. Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi has abandoned his traditional seat of Allahabad to contest from here. He is up against BSP’s Mukhtar Ansari, a mafia don presently in jail. The two are up against Congress’s Rajesh Misra, the incumbent MP who lives in the temple town.

Joshi dismissed the outsider charge as a non-issue. “I know Benares better than anyone and I have a house here.”

Joshi was accommodated at the cost of local BJP leader Mahendra Nath Pandey, who has been fielded from Bhadohi.

In Mirzapur, the candidates of the BSP, SP and Congress have come from nearby areas, which were excluded after delimitation. “Delimitation has disturbed a lot of candidates. This does not mean we have become outsiders,” said Ramesh Dubey, the Congress candidate from Mirzapur.

It’s the same story in Jaunpur. Incumbent MP Paras Nath is an outsider now.