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Moradabad a difficult election but will win: BJP candidate

Press Trust of India  |  Moradabad (UP) 

The election for the Lok Sabha seat will be difficult but the BJP will win with even better margin, says the BJP's candidate Sarvesh Kumar.

Kumar, a Thakur and five-time MLA from Moradabad, is pitted against Congress' Imran Pratapgarhi, a who has often questioned the BJP government through his provocative compositions and fiery speeches and SP-BSP-RLD coalition's S T Hasan, a doctor by profession who is also trying to win over the Muslim votes, about 47 per cent of the total 19.41 lakh voters in the constituency.

Political observers say Muslim voters often decide their support during last three days of campaigning.

"The election is going to be difficult. But we are sure of our win. People are seeing good work of We have seen huge attendance in our rallies as compared to those of SP Gathbandhan," Kumar, busy campaigning in interior areas of the constituency, told on the phone.

He said, "The fragmentation of Muslim votes has not happened. The election has become versus BJP but there is no doubt in my mind about my victory."

Kumar had been a Member of five times from Thakurdwara before he was elected from in 2014. His son is now an MLA from Barhapur, one of the five assembly segments in the parliamentary constituency.

Other than Muslims, Jatavs, who have traditionally supported the BSP, constitute 9 per cent of the total voters.

"We follow wishes of Behan Mayawati ji. Now that an alliance is in place, voters(Jatavs) will give full support to it as is wished by Behenji," Ranvijay, a supporter, said.

The BJP is on the defensive as its voters from the Scheduled Caste community - the Balmikis - are also angry with their local MP, Kumar.

They say they will either support the BSP-SP-RLD alliance or not cast their vote at all.

"We have traditionally voted for the and then we supported the BJP. Our support resulted in the victory of Kumar (in 2014). But in the last five years he has not visited us," said Harkesh, a resident of Daulat Bagh Balmiki colony.

He said whenever the community sought Kumar's presence, he sent his representatives. "We will not vote for him this time." Several other people from the community shared the sentiment.

Hasan, 55, meanwhile, has provided treatment to the poor and thinks it will work for him.

In 17 elections since 1952, Muslim candidates have won the seat 11 times, fighting on tickets from every major political party except the BJP.

The Bharatiya Jana Sangh had won the seat twice and the BJP had its first victory in 2014, when a division of Muslim votes between Hasan and helped Kumar win the seat.

He had managed 4.85 lakh votes against Hasan (3.97 lakh) and Yaqoob (1.60 lakh). If SP and BSP's votes for 2014 were to be combined, they would have defeated the BJP by a margin of over 75,000 votes.

However, the distribution of Muslim votes among the parties has not been consistent. A lot depends on the candidate.

In 2009, fought as a candidate and managed over three lakh votes, ending a 25-year drought for the party in this constituency.

This time when Congress gave ticket to from the seat initially, there was an overwhelming feeling in the local unit the party will comfortably win the seat with support from both Hindus and Muslims.

But Babbar distanced himself from the race, bringing Pratapgarhi, the who has questioned the government on incidents of lynching and over the missing JNU student Najeeb.

"There had been minor differences over Imran Pratapgarhi's nomination but now we have assuaged everyone and we are working as a team to ensure his win. Muslim votes are fully intact and they will go with the person whom they think is a better candidate. There will be no division of Muslim votes," A P told

Even supporters of the BJP candidate, Kumar, concede that young Muslim men and women find Pratapgarhi's oratory appealing and are getting swayed by him.

Unlike BJP's Kumar, Pratapgarhi and Hasan have been focussing on subtle messaging through community meetings.

The BJP, on the other hand, has organised big campaign rallies of Narendra Modi, and UP Minister in and around

There was a buzz that Qureshis, the second influential caste in Muslim community after Ansaris in Moradabad, may switch to Pratapgarhi, after the SP-BSP coalition cut the ticket of Haji Nasir Qureshi, a former BSP member, replacing him with Hasan.

"No. Muslims will not divide their vote. Qureshi had contested on BSP ticket in assembly election. He was new to SP. Local leaders supported Hasan who was the runner-up in local elections. They will vote either of the two candidates," Ranvijay, the BSP supporter, said.

The support of Jatavs to the alliance is a major factor convincing Muslims to also vote for it, he said.

"They are seeing this poll as between Modi and They wanted to support Congress when was given ticket. But with change in candidate they are realigning their strategy as Jatavs will be supporting the alliance," Azam Ansari, a Congress office-bearer, claimed.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 16 2019. 20:15 IST