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Crucial voting in UP’s 67 assembly constituencies to decide overall trends
Jatin Desai | Friday, 17 February 2017 AT 11:11 AM IST
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Rampur (Uttar Pradesh):
Hectic campaigning for the second phase of Uttar Pradesh assembly elections ended for 67 assembly constituencies two days ago and now the votes are in, so the fate of those contesting here is sealed. These constituencies are spread over 11 districts and in all probability will decide who will rule the most populated state of the country. Many of these constituencies are Muslim-dominated and in some they constitute around fifty per cent of the voters.

The belt of Moradabad, Rampur, Shahjanpur and Bareilly is significant as far as Samajwadi Party (SP)-Congress alliance and rival Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are concerned. The BJP is trying to grab the opportunity of split in the Muslim vote in the region.

Rampur is the most prestigious constituency for SP. Mohammad Azam Khan, a Muslim face of the party, is contesting from his pocket borough.  He is winning the elections for last many years and played an important role in ending the family feud of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. On the surface, Rampur city looks like any modern city with huge shops, well maintained roads, educational institutions and a massive mall to resume functioning soon. The credit for changing the face of city, obviously, goes to Azam Khan. The constituency has more than fifty per cent Muslim voters.

Asim Samsi, President of the Rampur Corporation, is confident of Azam Khan’s victory. He said in the last assembly elections held in 2012, Azam Khan won by over 63,000 votes defeating Dr Tanveer of Congress.

This time Tanveer is contesting on BSP ticket. Azam Khan’s office was full of activities and his rival’s office had a few party activists. But BSP activists claimed their candidate will stage an upset and win the election comfortably. Asad Khan, a grassroot activist with the party for last 10 years claimed voters are fed up of Azam Khan’s muscle power and atrocities and they will defeat the SP candidate. BJP is nowhere in the race. Azam Khan is aware of the scenario and devoting a lot of time in his pocket borough.

Moradabad district has six assembly constituencies. In the last elections, SP won all the six seats. This time they may find it difficult to retain all the seats. Again the contest is between SP and BSP. Moradabad is known as ‘pital nagri’ (brass city) for its famous brass handicrafts industry.  Over the years, the industry has lost its charm. According to locals, the industry suffered a worse immediately after demonetisation. SP supporters feel the voters will teach BJP a lesson. Surendrakumar Bishnoi, a BJP corporator for last 19 years claimed people want change. He conceded that in the UP elections no party will get clear or simple majority to form a government. It will be a hung assembly. BJP’s grassroot activists feel there will be no option for BJP and BSP than to join hands in the event of a hung assembly.

They were happy in saying that once BSP joins hands with BJP the end game of BSP will begin. While BSP activists claim they will get absolute majority and so question of hung assembly does not arise. They were categorical in saying in no situation will they  join hands with the BJP as they differ fundamentally on virtually all issues.

- JATIN DESAI
 
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