With SP-BSP alliance, BJP set to have a tough fight in Gorakhpur
With BSP extending its support to SP, NISHAD Party and Peace Party alliance for Lok Sabha by-elections has resulted in the consolidation of Dalit, Muslim, Yadav and Nishad vote bank in Gorakhpur which may make going tough for the BJP, say political analysts.lucknow Updated: Mar 09, 2018 16:58 IST
With BSP extending its support to SP, NISHAD Party and Peace Party alliance for Lok Sabha by-elections has resulted in the consolidation of Dalit, Muslim, Yadav and Nishad vote bank in Gorakhpur which may make going tough for the BJP, say political analysts.
- Voters: 19 lakh
- Total candidates in fray: 10
- LS seat comprises of five Vidhan Sabha constituencies – Gorakhpur Urban, Gorakhpur Rural, Pipraich, Sahjanwa and Campierganj
- Total no. of booths: 2,641
They say the situation is similar to that in 1998 and 1999 general elections when Yogi Adityanath had hardly managed to retain the seat for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the face of tough challenge from Samajwadi Party’s Jamuna Nishad who held considerable sway over Nishad voters.
Though it is being largely believed that the BJP will succeed in retaining the seat, given the popularity of chief minister Yogi Adtiyanath who has projected himself as face of the election, the SP-led alliance is also in a strong position to give a close contest to the BJP, say experts.
“Definitely it is a winning caste equation which may create trouble for the BJP in Yogi’s bastion. By uniting Dalits, Nishads, Muslims and Yadavs, the SP-BSP alliance is in a strong position,” says political analyst Manoj Singh.
He says BSP workers will have to work hard on the ground to make sure that Dalit votes are transferred to the alliance.
“All the three Nishads with SP-led alliance – Dr Sanjay Nishad, former MLAs Ram Bhuwal Nishad and Amrendra Nishad – have a strong hold on Nishad votes. There are 3 lakh voters from the community (according to 2011 Census). It will be hard for the BJP to make a dent to SP’s Nishad vote bank though it is making desperate attempts to woo the community,” Singh says.
With its Brahmin face (Upendra Datt Shukla) the BJP is now late to woo Nishads, he adds.
In 1998, Yogi had managed to win the seat by defeating Jamuna Nishad by a margin of 26,206 votes. This margin narrowed down to 7,000 in 1999.
In both the elections, there was no division of Nishad votes as Jamuna Nishad was the only candidate from the community.
However, Nishad votes got divided in 2004, 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections when both the SP and the BSP fielded influential Nishad leaders which eventually benefitted the BJP.
The division of Nishad votes was largely evident in 2014 when Yogi registered a historic win by defeating his nearest rival Rajmati Nishad, wife of Jamuna Nishad, by more than 2 lakh votes. BSP’s Ram Bhuwal Nishad, who is now in SP, secured third position by getting 1,76,412 votes.
Nishad vote bank is consolidated this time around as all prominent Nishad faces are supporting the alliance candidate Praveen Nishad.
Congress has fielded gynaecologist Surhita Chatterji Kareem who enjoys the support of Bengali, Muslim and doctor community.
Rajan Yadav, popularly known as Arthi Baba for his unique style of campaigning on an ‘arthi’ (pyre), claims the SP alliance is not as strong as it being perceived.
“Many SP workers are not happy with the candidature of Praveen Nishad, who has been suddenly brought from Delhi sidelining other ticket aspirants including prominent faces like Ram Bhuwal Nishad, Rajmati Nishad and Amrendra Nishad,” he says.
“Congress candidate Surhita Kareem secured more than 80,000 votes in mayoral elections. She may make a dent in SP votes by getting support from Muslims and intellectuals. These votes may go up to 1.25 lakh,” says Yadav.
Syed Farhan, a political observer, says: “If you add 2.26 lakh votes secured by SP and 1.76 lakh votes polled for BSP in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it will still be less as compared to 5.39 lakh votes secured by Yogi in 2014.”
“Traditional Brahmin and upper caste voters will continue to support BJP. Enthusiasm is missing among Congress leaders and rallies of UPCC president Raj Babbar have failed to attract crowd,” he says.
District general secretary of the Congress Anwar Hussain maintains that after Congress’s splendid performance in Gujarat assembly election and recent by-polls in Madhya Pradesh people have understood that only the Congress can counter the BJP.
National president of NISHAD (Nirbal Shoshit Indian Hamara Apna Dal) Party Dr Sanjay Nishad says, “Yogi Adityanath has been winning for so long with the support of Nishad community who have great faith in Guru Machendranath. This time, the son of a Nishad is in the fray and Guru Machendranath should bless him.”
Denying any threat from SP-BSP alliance, BJP’s regional spokesman Dr Satyendra Sinha says the party is contesting the election to increase the victory margin.
“Yogi ji has been winning elections with a huge margin and BJP will register again register a victory under his leadership. These alliances will have no impact on the election result,” he says.
SP district president Prahlad Yadav also appears confident of the alliance candidate’s victory.
“A popular slogan was given in 1993 – ‘Mil gaye Mulayam Kanshiram, hawa me ud gaye Jai Shri Ram’. We are going to repeat history. We have come together to stop communal forces. If our leaders agree to continue the alliance, we will defeat BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.”