Former chief minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief, Mayawati, has fielded a first-timer, Ravikant Mishra, from the Noida assembly constituency in her home district of Gautam Budh Nagar. In the candidate list announced on Thursday for 100 out of UP’s 403 constituencies, the party has named sitting MLAs for Dadri and Jewar constituencies as candidates again.
The Noida constituency will go to polls on February 11 and results will be declared on March 11. Four lakh voters out of its total 5,10,548 voters are in urban areas.
Mishra, who studied till Class 12, had joined BSP in 2009. He runs a playschool in Sector 50 and is opening a new one in the same area.
The 39-year-old hails from Mainpuri district, considered Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulaym Singh Yadav’s stronghold. Mishra’s father, Satish Chandra Mishra, is into agriculture and had three brick kilns in Mainpuri. He had settled in Noida 30 years ago and has been involved with many social organisations in the city. His family is also close to this father’s namesake, who is the general secretary of the party.
However, Ravikant Mishra was not the first choice for the seat. The BSP had in January 2016 fielded Birondi village’s Davendra Sharma, as the candidate. However on January 5, the party named Mishra, another Brahmin face, from Noida.
Asked about the decision, Mishra, who is campaigning in urban and rural areas of Noida, said, “I do not know as the decision was taken at the highest level. My job is to work hard and win this seat.”
On Bharatiya Janata Party’s allegations that Mayawati sells party tickets, Mishra said, “The BJP has failed on various fronts and now demonetisation has been its biggest mistake. People will teach BJP a lesson in the upcoming assembly polls.”
If BJP repeats its sitting, Vimla Batham (55), from Noida, Mishra will become the seat’s youngest candidate.
The SP has already fielded Ashok Chauhan (46) from Noida. However, due to the tussle in the party leadership, the candidature of those named in the party’s list remains uncertain.
The BSP is known to have changed its candidates at the last minute, but Mishra is not bothered. “I am a loyal solider of my party and will adhere to all orders that come from the top,” he said.
In the 2014 general elections, BSP’s sitting MP Surendra Nagar had changed sides and joined SP at the last minute.
“Mayawati has fielded Ravikant Mishra as his family has been loyal to the party for many years. If a candidate changed sides just before elections, it could have embarrassed the party in her hometown,” said a senior BSP leader.