Ghaziabad rally: Mayawati plays ‘Kshatriya discontent’ card - Hindustan Times
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Ghaziabad rally: Mayawati plays ‘Kshatriya discontent’ card

Apr 22, 2024 08:18 AM IST

For Ghaziabad, the BSP had initially declared the name of a Punjabi but finally went ahead with the name of Pundhir from the Rajput belt of Dhaulana

Ghaziabad: Making an endeavour to attract one of the largest communities in western Uttar Pradesh, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Sunday tried to cash in the said ‘Kshatriya discontent’ prevailing against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as she addressed a major election rally in Ghaziabad’s Kavi Nagar.

During her speech, Mayawati pointed out that discontent is prevailing in western UP and across the state among the Kshatriyas against the BJP in this election. (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)
During her speech, Mayawati pointed out that discontent is prevailing in western UP and across the state among the Kshatriyas against the BJP in this election. (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

Rajputs (Kshatriya) are one of the largest communities across western UP.

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The former chief minister was here to support her party’s candidates Thakur Nandkishor Pundhir, a Kshatriya, and also Praveen Bansal, a Gurjar, who is contesting from the Baghpat Lok Sabha seat.

During her speech, Mayawati pointed out that discontent is prevailing in western UP and across the state among the Kshatriyas against the BJP in this election.

“It is sad to know that the BJP and other parties have ignored the Kshatriyas in western UP in ticket distribution... But, the BSP has given many tickets to Kshatriyas in Meerut and Saharanpur divisions. The ticket for Ghaziabad seat has also been given to a Kshatriya. The BJP here denied ticket to a Kshatriya,” Mayawati said in a veiled reference to denial of ticket to two-time MP gen VK Singh (retired).

Singh won the Ghaziabad parliamentary seat in 2014 and 2019. But this time, the BJP gave a ticket to its sitting MLA Atul Garg, who is a local.

Mayawati said that she has come to know that Kshatriyas organised many panchayats recently across the western Uttar Pradesh.

“It has come to light that in these panchayats, the community members decided to back the party which allowed participation of Kshatriyas in ticket distribution. So, I thank them for taking the right decision in their panchayats,” she said.

For the Ghaziabad Lok Sabha seat, the BSP had initially declared the name of Anshay Kalra, a Punjabi, but finally went ahead with the name of Pundhir who is from the Rajput belt of Dhaulana and a resident of Muzaffarnagar.

Mayawati clarified it did not mean that Sikhs and Punjabis have been ignored in Ghaziabad if Kalra was denied the ticket here.

“Now, we have given a ticket to Kalra from Lakhimpur Kheri which has a large population of Sikhs and Punjabis. We have not ignored Gurjars as well. Our party also gave a ticket to a Gurjar, Praveen Bansal, from the Baghpat seat,” the BSP chief said.

After Muslims and Dalits, Rajputs (Kshatriyas) are the single largest community across western UP, especially concentrated in Ghaziabad, Saharanpur, Meerut, Kairana, Gautam Budh Nagar, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat and Aligarh, among others, experts said.

Their leaders said that a series of panchayats, about 15-16, have been held since April 7 in Manota, Sisoli, Kheda-Sardhana, Dhaulana while others are slotted to be held in Chola and Aligarh in the coming days.

“This is a movement by the Rajput community and the BJP denied tickets to people from our community. Controversies have prevailed when our revered Samrat Mihir Bhoj was termed a Gujjar. There are many issues and these have not gone well with our community members. It has been decided that we will go with the party/candidate which is in a position to defeat BJP in the first three phases of Lok Sabha polls,” said Lalit Rana, chairperson, Rashtrawadi Pratap Sena.

Rana said that people from the Kshatriya community did not go out to vote during the first phase (involving eight Lok Sabha seats in western UP) of the Lok Sabha polls, and this was one of the reasons why the turnout on eight seats in phase 1 remained low.

“The BJP is now sending its Kshatriya leaders to pacify, and even the UP chief minister has conducted a series of rallies in western UP. But this will not suffice,” he added.

The BJP leaders, however, denied there is any ‘Kshatriya discontent’.

“Our candidate is getting a lot of support in areas like Dhaulana and others. There is no discontent. These are only rumours spread by certain groups playing in the hands of the opposition. The BJP will come out victorious again,” said Ajay Sharma, Lok Sabha convener (BJP, Ghaziabad).

Political experts said that the move by the BSP to give tickets to Kshatriya candidates is a well-thought-out move.

According to KK Sharma, associate professor (history) from CCS University, Meerut, this may lead to some gain for the BSP but the entire vote of Kshatriyas may not get transferred to it.

“People will also favour the INDIA bloc candidates which are in position to defeat BJP candidates. So, these two parties will stand to gain while it may indicate loss of votes for the BJP. Even if these voters don’t come out to vote, the BJP will be at loss since the Kshatriyas are considered its core vote bank,” he said.

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