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Ghazipur Election Results 2019: All eyes on old rivals Manoj Sinha and Afzal Ansari

Manoj Sinha, a union minster of state for railways and a BJP candidate, is contesting against Afzal Ansari, elder brother of Mafioso-turned- politician Mukhtar Ansari of the BSP.

constituency watch Updated: May 23, 2019 11:23 IST
Pawan Dixit
Pawan Dixit
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Ghazipur,Uttar Pradesh,Afzal Ansari
Manoj Sinha and Afzal Ansari

Two old rivals — both known for the influence they wield on voters — took on each other once again in Ghazipur. in the Lok Sabha Election 2019.

Manoj Sinha, a union minster of state for railways and a BJP candidate, is contesting against Afzal Ansari, elder brother of Mafioso-turned- politician Mukhtar Ansari of the BSP. Sinha is the MP and is seeking re-election. Ajit Pratap Kushwaha and Major Ramji Rajbhar are also contesting from the constituency.

After gap of 15 years, the old rivals were face to face again.

Back in 2004 general election, Ansari had defeated Sinha in one of the most violent elections in Uttar Pradesh’s history. Afzal Ansari is currently leading in Ghazipur constituency after the initial counting.

On polling day, in a poll-related violence, BJP worker Guddu Grihar and Sinha’s nephew Seshnath Rai were shot dead.

Two killings on a polling day had rattled the then Samajwadi Party government led by Mulayam Singh Yadav. After the killings, the BJP workers boycotted the election and sat on dharna demanding cancellation of the election. However, the election commission did not cancel the election.

Factfile
  • Polling stations- 2050
  • Male voters- 1009099
  • Female voters- 842712
  • Third Gender- 64
  • Total electorate- 18,51,875

Sinha, who was then a sitting MP, lost the election by a margin of more than two lakh votes.

Ghazipur had witnessed a spate of killings between 2000 and 2004, most of them due to political rivalry.

This time round, in the Mahaghatbandhan between the Samajwadi Party and the BSP, the Ghazipur seat has gone to the latter.

For Ansari brothers, it has been the battle of survival in the constituency considered their stronghold.

Sinha, however, claimed himself to be the new ‘guardian’ of the people.

He is seeking re-election on the basis of work done in the constituency in the last five years.

Ansari, political analysts insist, is banking on caste combination of the Mahaghatbandhan (SP-BSP alliance).

It is in this backdrop that Sinha had issued a controversial statement on April 18 last during campaigning in his Parliamentary constituency.

“The BJP workers are ready to crush corruption and the money earned through criminal activities. I can assure you that if any finger is pointed at a BJP worker in four hours that finger will not be salamat (safe),” Sinha had said.

He was addressing ‘Kishan Panchayat Sammelan’ in Saidpur area, about 40m km from the district headquarter, Ghazipur.

Not stopping here, Sinha had added: “No criminal of Purvanchal is in a position to enter the boundary of Ghazipur and threaten BJP workers. If he dares to do so, his eyes will not be safe.”

Commenting on the political battle in Ghazipur, Prof Kaushal Kishore Mishra, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, said: “It is not 2004. Then Sinha was just an ordinary candidate. In this 2019 election when Sinha is seeking re-election as a central minister.”

He adds: “Development work done by Sinha in Ghazipur in the last five years and Afzal Ansari’s tenure as an MP between 2004 and 2009 will be compared.”

“Only caste equation can help Ansari, adds Mishra.

However, Mishra also conceded that it would be a close contest in Ghazipur due to caste combinations.

Not for nothing, the electoral battle is among the most keenly watched contests in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Ghazipur goes to poll in the seventh phase on May 19.

Follow: Lok Sabha Election 2019 , Election News

First Published: May 16, 2019 14:59 IST