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Constituency Watch: Saharanpur poised for a triangular contest

There will be a triangular fight between the SP-BSP-RLD alliance, BJP and Congress in Saharanpur. BSP has fielded meat businessman Fazlurrehman as an alliance candidate.

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 28, 2019 11:28 IST
S Raju
S Raju
Hindustan Times
saharanpur constituency,Raghav lakhanpal
BJP candidate for Saharanpur Lok Sabha seat Raghav Lakhanpal.(HT file)

The people of Saharanpur have witnessed two political developments in the last one month -- the meeting between Congress general secretary (east UP) Priyanka Gandhi and Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad in Meerut and the reunion of Masood family after about five years.

According to political pundits, these two simple-looking developments will have far-reaching impact on the election outcome in Saharanpur as well as neighbouring Lok Sabha constituencies.

Imran Masood is once again in the fray from Saharanpur as a Congress candidate to take on BJP’s Raghav Lakhanpal.

There will be a triangular fight between the SP-BSP-RLD alliance, BJP and Congress in Saharanpur. BSP has fielded meat businessman Fazlurrehman as an alliance candidate.

Saharanpur Lok Sabha constituency has five assembly seats --Behat, Saharanpur, Saharanpur Dehat, Rampur Maniharan and Deoband. Barring Saharanpur city, all other seats have a sizable population of Dalits.

The reunion of Masood family has brightened Imran’s chance of victory on the seat. Imran had parted ways from his uncle Rasheed Masood (a five-time MP who is now in the BSP) following a dispute over ticket during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

While Imran contested election as a Congress candidate, his cousin Shadan got the ticket from the Samajwadi Party.

With votes splitting within the family, Imran lost the election to BJP’s Raghav Lakhanpal by only 65,000 votes even during the Modi wave.

“Reunion of the Masood family will prevent division of supporters’ votes and the additional votes from other communities will brighten his prospects in election,” Sahar Qazi Nadeem said.

But where will additional votes comes from? The answer lies in the meeting of Priyanka Gandhi and Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar.

Bhim Army’s emergence is from Saharanpur and Imran Masood remained by its side when Chandrashekhar was booked under the stringent National Security Act (NSA).

He developed a good rapport with Chandrashekhar and other leaders of the Bhim Army which developed a good following after accusing state government of siding with Rajputs after a caste clash between Dalits and Rajputs in Shabbirpur village of Saharanpur in May 2017.

BJP is likely to play the card of nationalism after Pulwama terror attack and airstrike across the Line of Control (LoC).

According to political analysts, caste clashes between Dalits and Rajputs in Shabbirpur village will certainly be a major issue in the election which BJP will try to nullify.

SAHARANPUR AT A GLANCE

2014 Lok Sabha elections

Raghav Lakhanpal (BJP): 4,72,261

Imran Masood (Congress): 4,07,176

2009 Lok Sabha elections

Jagdish Rana (BSP): 3,54,807

Rasheed Masood (SP): 2,69,934

Saharanpur constituency has approximate 57 % Hindu and 42 % Muslim voters

16,08,233 voters exercised their franchise in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections

Saharanpur Lok Sabha constituency has five assembly seats --Behat, Saharanpur, Saharanpur Dehat, Rampur Maniharan and Deoband.

First Published: Mar 28, 2019 11:28 IST