Ghaziabad: Campaigning to end on Wednesday, all parties hopeful of victory - Hindustan Times
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Ghaziabad: Campaigning to end on Wednesday, all parties hopeful of victory

By, Ghaziabad
Apr 24, 2024 06:32 AM IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded its sitting MLA Atul Garg, while the Congress has fielded Dolly Sharma. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is going solo this time with Thakur Nandkishor Pundhir

As campaigning for phase 2 of Lok Sabha election draws to a close on Wednesday (April 24), the different political parties, armed with their social engineering assessment results, are claiming a victory in Ghaziabad.

Ghaziabad police take out a flag march in Dasna area of Ghaziabad on Tuesday. (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)
Ghaziabad police take out a flag march in Dasna area of Ghaziabad on Tuesday. (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

Ghaziabad parliamentary constituency goes to polls on April 26. The constituency has a total of 2,941,624 voters and 14 contestants in the fray.

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded its sitting MLA Atul Garg, while the Congress has fielded Dolly Sharma. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is going solo this time with Thakur Nandkishor Pundhir.

Although there is no formal caste based data available on voters, different parties have readied their own assessments about their voter base.

Various party insiders estimate that there are about 245,000 Vaishya voters, about 5.2 million Brahmin voters, 522,000 Thakurs or Kshatriya voters, 245,000 Yadavs, 65,000 Punjabis, 210,000 Jats, 515,000 Muslims, 190,000 Tyagis and about 105,000 Gujjar voters, among others, in the district.

The BSP leaders said their candidate would get about 800,000 votes if the total polling remains at around 55%.

“As our candidate is a Kshatriya, we expect that about 80% Rajput votes will come to us and also about 20-25% Brahmin votes. Since the Congress candidate is a Brahmin, she would stand to get a majority of votes from that community. From the Muslim community, we are expecting about 50% votes,” BSP district president Dayaram Sain said.

The Dalits, estimated to number about 450,000, the BSP said were their traditional vote bank.

“We expect about 90% votes from Dalits as they are our core voters,” Sain said.

As per records of the Election Commission of India (ECI), the polling percentage in Ghaziabad was 56.94 in 2014 general elections. In 2019, the polling percentage was even lesser at 55.86%.

In phase 1 polling in eight seats of western Uttar Pradesh, the turnout stood at 61.11%, while in 2019, these eight seats recorded a polling of 66.54%.

The Congress this time is part of Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) and are contesting with their ally, Samajwadi Party, in Uttar Pradesh.

Congress leaders in Ghaziabad have also drawn out their caste-based estimates and said they hope to get about 80% of 300,000 Brahmin votes, and about 70-80% of Muslim votes.

“We are also expecting a major chunk of votes from Tyagis, Bhmuihars and Kshatriyas. We also expect 15-20% of Jat and Dalit votes. Our leader Rahul Gandhi has raised the issue of caste-based Census while our ally and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has also talked much about Pichda, Dalit and Alpsankhyaks (backward, Dalits and minorities),” said Vinit Tyagi, district president, Congress.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is banking on the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to rake in the votes.

In his speeches in Modinagar and Pilkhuwa, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath had spoken of the Ram temple in Ayodhya and its deity “Ram Lalla” in an effort to galvanise Hindu votes.

“Our party has laid down policies for every caste and community. We are getting support from all groups. We expect that our victory margin would be about 7-8 lakh,” said Ajay Sharma, Lok Sabha convener (BJP, Ghaziabad).

The party functionaries said they are banking on the support of Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas.

“We are also getting a lot of support from Dalits and OBCs. People from minority community do not vote much in our favour,” a senior leader said, asking not to be named.

“The caste-based estimations are prepared by parties before every election. Certain castes and communities go with candidates from parties that have certain castes as their core vote bank. For instance, it is generally thought that upper caste will go with BJP while the Dalits will side with the BSP. The Muslims can go to Congress, BSP or SP,” said KK Sharma, associate professor (history) from CCS University, Meerut.

“Likewise, there are several OBCs categories that also like to go with candidates from their castes. So, such social-engineering is prevalent and parties decide their winnability factor on this basis,” Sharma said.

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