Domariyaganj: Will ‘three-day CM’ get third time lucky here?
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Jagdambika Pal, who is known as ‘Teen din ka CM’ (a three-day chief minister) in UP. However, his name is not in the list of UP chief ministers due to his ‘three-day stint’ that happened in 1998.Updated: May 09, 2019 13:27 IST
Even as Siddharthnagar, a north-eastern district in Domariyaganj Lok Sabha constituency, witnessed three spells of moderate rain on May 3, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati addressed a rally for the party’s alliance candidate Aftab Alam at Budh Vihar Park.
After the rally ended, her helicopter took off in the rain and the crowd started dispersing. People were drenched and all the craters in Purani Naugadh, a few kilometres away from the rally spot, were brimming with water.
Ramprasad (he goes by one name), 57, who runs a small tailoring shop on the roadside, complains: “When it rains, the entire road is slushy. When it doesn’t, the fine dust wafts up from under the wheels of passing vehicles.”
Next to his shop, Rameshwar Verma, 52, runs a grain shop.
“Dust fills up our nostrils and throats. So much so, my mouth always feels grainy,” he says.
Mahesh Kumar, another shop owner who is younger by at least 15 years to these two, says: “We will vote but will press ‘NOTA’. Last time, we had announced poll boycott for this road but the district administration persuaded us to vote. We were assured that the road will be constructed but nothing was done.”
Rameshwar says: “This time, I will not vote for the candidate whom I had been supporting for the last two terms. He did nothing. I will vote for gathbandhan.”
Ramprasad, however, says he will continue to support the candidate he voted last time though he knows that no development work will be carried out under him.
Rameshwar and Ramprasad are talking about the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Jagdambika Pal, who is known as ‘Teen din ka CM’ (a three-day chief minister) in UP. However, his name is not in the list of UP chief ministers due to his ‘three-day stint’ that happened in 1998.
On February 21, 1998, the then UP governor Romesh Bhandari had dismissed the Kalyan Singh government after which Jagdambika Pal, who was then in the Congress, became the chief minister.
However, on February 23, the Allahabad high court reinstated Kalyan Singh as the CM.
Pal left the Congress and formed the Akhil Bharatiya Loktantrik Congress in 1997. Later, he rejoined the Congress and even served a term as the party’s state president.
In 2009, he won Domariyaganj Lok Sabha seat for the first time as the Congress candidate. Ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Pal joined the BJP and again won the seat. He is again contesting the seat as a BJP candidate.
Pal is locked in a triangular fight against the SP-BSP alliance’s Aftab Alam and Dr Chandresh Upadhyaya of the Congress. The Congress has turned the battle triangular which otherwise was a straight fight between BJP and the alliance.
In 2009 as well as 2014, Pal secured nearly 31% vote share. The Muslim votes, nearly 5.5 lakh out of nearly 18 lakh total voters, had split between SP, BSP and Peace Party in 2009 and 2014, making Jagdambika’s win easy.
The combined vote share of SP, BSP, and Peace Party in 2014 was a whopping 19% higher than that of Pal’s.
The Congress may play the role of a ‘vote cutter’ for both BJP (upper caste votes) and alliance (Muslims).
Secretary in the Congress’s district unit Newaaz Ali says: “He is a local doctor. He is young and has the support of both upper castes and Muslims.”
Shaad Ali, a Muslim voter in Shohargarh, says: “You will see where our vote has gone on May 23. We won’t tell now.”
As a constituency, Domariyaganj is not identified as any party’s pocket borough or citadel. Development, clearly, is not an issue in this BRGF district that has no industry – not even a sugar mill – despite being a sugarcane cultivation area.
Flood is another problem without any solution as 12 big and small rivers inundate the district with water from Nepal every monsoon.
The only no-problem spot in the entire constituency seems to be Kapilvastu – a tourist spot in UP’s Buddhist circuit.