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SP, BSP work hard to make a dent in Yogi’s bastion Gorakhpur

Ever since BSP president Mayawati announced her party’s support to the SP, workers of both the parties are campaigning for Praveen Nishad to ensure consolidation of votes in favour of the SP-backed candidate.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2018 12:35 IST
Abdul Jadid
Abdul Jadid
Gorakhpur, Hindustan Times
Gorakhpur,Samajwadi Party alliance,Bahujan Samaj Party
Bahujan Samaj Party workers seeking votes for Samajwadi Party alliance candidate Praveen Nishad at Turkmanpur in Gorakhpur on Friday. (HT Photo)

As the poll campaign touched its peak on Friday, the last day of campaigning for Lok Sabha by-elections to be held on March 11, a cavalcade of SUVs carrying Samajwadi Party (SP) alliance candidate Praveen Nishad and leaders of SP, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and NISHAD Party stopped in a Dalit-dominated locality of Gorakhpur.

“Behenji has appealed to her supporters to vote for SP alliance candidate Praveen Nishad in the by-election,” BSP’s district president Ghanshyam Rahi told the residents as Nishad greeted them.

“You should support him to stop communal forces and also because the SP has fielded the son of a leader belonging to the most backward section of the society. Come out in large numbers and vote for cycle (SP’s poll symbol),” Rahi said.

The BSP workers shouted slogans in support of Mayawati and distributed pamphlets bearing her picture and message. They also informed the people how SP patriarch Mulayam Singh and BSP founder Kanshi Ram joined hands against saffron forces for the upliftment of Dalits and the poor.

Ever since BSP president Mayawati announced her party’s support to the SP, workers of both the parties are campaigning for Nishad to ensure consolidation of votes in favour of the SP-backed candidate.

BSP members are holding ‘nukkad sabhas’ and visiting Muslim-dominated localities of Gorakhnath, Rasoolpur, Turkmanpur, Mia Bazar, Nakhas seeking support for Nishad.

“Setting aside differences, BSP activists are working on the ground to ensure Nishad’s victory. The workers have been asked to ensure that every single BSP vote gets transferred to SP alliance candidate,” said BSP leader Aftab Alam.

Though the BSP workers are carrying out door-to-door campaigning, they are still not very keen on sharing the dais with SP leaders.

They even stayed away from the public meeting of SP president Akhilesh Yadav at Champa Devi Park on Monday where he said it was a “now or never fight” and exhorted the workers to grab the opportunity as the alliance of SP, BSP, NISHAD Party and Peace Party had never been forged in the past.

BSP insiders maintain that though Pasi, Saithwar and Balmiki voters will follow Mayawati’s appeal, sub-castes like Khatiks and Dhobis may support the BJP.

A similar situation was seen 2017 assembly election when the BJP made a dent in BSP’s vote bank, a BSP leader said.

“In Gorakhpur, parties have been getting support in the name of Gorakhnath temple, a centre of faith and devotion. Those members of backward communities, who have been voting on these lines mainly to counter Muslims, will continue to do so in future,” he said.

Rahi, however, denied there would be any division in Dalit votes. “Though Dalit support to the BJP increased in the last election, we are united,” he said.

Manoj Singh, a political analyst, said division of votes was unlikely to affect the prospects of the alliance. “If they continue to vote for the BJP like they did earlier, it will not be considered as surplus votes for it,” he said.

First Published: Mar 10, 2018 12:33 IST