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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: PM Modi replaces Kalyan as Hindutva poster boy in Bulandshahr

People in the know of things claim that Bhola Singh got the ticket again as he was reportedly backed by Kalyan Singh. However, Singh faces opposition in the constituency and even a large section of his own community members have turned against him.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Apr 17, 2019 10:15 IST
S Raju
S Raju
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Kalyan Singh
Kalyan Singh(File)
         

When the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fielded Bhola Singh as its candidate from Bulandshahr Lok Sabha seat in 2014, the residents of Danapur village of the district welcomed him with open arms.

Singh, who belongs to the Lodh community, received an overwhelming response from voters and defeated his rival Pradeep Jatav by a margin of over 4 lakh votes.

The party has again fielded Bhola Singh but the ground reality is not the same this time around.

Bhola Singh learnt the basics of politics from Lodh community’s stalwart leader and former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh.

People in the know of things claim that Bhola Singh got the ticket again as he was reportedly backed by Kalyan Singh. However, Singh faces opposition in the constituency and even a large section of his own community members have turned against him.

However, once the flag-bearer of Ram Mandir movement and a Hindutva icon Kalyan Singh himself seems to have taken a backseat in the region dominated by his own Lodh community.

Modi is now a new icon of Hindutva for his clansmen who are openly saying that they would be voting for Modi and not Kalyan Singh. Engaged in a discussion on election scenario in Bulandshahar at a tea stall, Lodh Nityapal, Kailashchand and Bholamber Singh said they were annoyed with Bhola Singh as he did nothing for them.

They said their votes would go to Modi. However, the trio did not mention Kalyan Singh whom the members of Lodh community respectfully refer to as ‘Babuji’.When asked why they are supporting Modi and not referring to Kalyan Singh as they used to do in the past, Kailash Chand shot back: “What has he done for the community despite the fact that we always supported him?”

Nityapal said he (Kalyan) did not bring a single scheme for Lodhs. “We must take lesson from the Yadav family,” he said.

Kalyan Singh is presently the governor of Rajasthan. He enjoyed unequivocal support of his clansmen in the Lodh heartland of Uttar Pradesh which is spread in more than 10 Lok Sabha constituencies including Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Firozabad, Agra, Farrukhabad and Etah. Lodhs comprise 2 per cent of the total population of UP and with huge concentration in this region having 10-35 per cent voters in these constituencies.

A Lodh leader Premveer aka Pappu of village Surjawali said, “Politicians and leaders need to stay in regular contact with their supporters to maintain an emotional bond with them. Members of the community believe that ‘Babuji’ has done nothing for them and now he has even stopped reaching out to them, which has given Modi a chance to find a place in hearts of Lodh.”

Villagers said Modi was the new symbol of Hindutva. Bhola Singh seems to be in a tough battle this time with alliance candidate Yogesh Verma and Congress’s Bansi Pahadia have made the contest triangular. There is no Modi wave akin to that in 2019 and with members of his own community against him may result in low vote percentage. Under such a situation, it will be interesting to see how enthusiastically Lodh will cast their vote in support of Modi.

First Published: Apr 17, 2019 10:15 IST

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