Ghosi (Mau): It’s a Muslim, Rajbhar and Chauhan dominated constituency, but Bharatiya Janata Party and Samajwadi Party are fighting for Thakur votes which can tilt the scales in the Ghosi assembly seat.
A good number of leaders from Thakur caste, led by Rajya Sabha MP Neeraj Shekhar, are camping in Ghosi since several days and campaigning for BJP.
Shekhar unleashes attack on SP chief Akhilesh Yadav at his all public meetings and says, “He does not like people of our fraternity. This is the reason why Akhilesh forgot to sign the prescribed form for symbol allotment to Sudhakar Singh though he signed correctly on forms of 10 other candidates for the assembly byelection. It compelled Sudhakar to contest as independent candidate.”
Shekhar told TOI, “The SP leadership is afraid that leaders from our background might grow in stature and pose a challenge to them. I was also kept marginalized in the party because of this. I feel honoured in BJP. Despite winning 303 Lok Sabha seats, Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally offered me to join him, asking what I was doing there (SP). BJP chief and home minister Amit Shah also treated me similarly.”
Sudhakar countered Shekhar’s allegations and said, “It’s opportunist politics of Shekhar. He has forgotten that despite losing Lok Sabha election, he was sent to Rajya Sabha by SP. In SP there is equal respect for all.”
SP spokesperson Rajiv Rai targeted Shekhar asking him to keep in mind that he is son of former PM Chandrashekhar, who never compromised with his ideology and even left prime ministership.
“Chandrashekhar never considered Shekhar efficient for fielding him even in local body elections. It is unfortunate to see Shekhar shifting his loyalty just for a bungalow in Delhi,” said Rai.
The voters of Ghosi are keenly following the electoral fight.
Satyendra Singh of Kalyanpur area said, “Failure of BSP in fielding strong candidate like 2017 assembly election will impact voting trend of Muslims, who are dominant in this constituency.”
Suryabhan Maurya of Patti Mohammad area said, “Gone are the days when the formula of wooing two-three castes used to help win election. Today the poor in villages, irrespective of caste, are comparing the works of government of all parties.”
“It looks funny. Most parties are still banking on caste equations despite witnessing change in pattern of voting in past elections,” said Sanjay Tiwari, a lawyer.
Ghosi seat witnessed a high voltage campaign in 2017 polls when BJP’s old warrior, Phagu Chauhan, struggled hard but defeated BSP candidate and don-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s son, Abbas Ansari, by 7003 votes, while SP’s Sudhakar Singh stood third. The Ghosi seat fell vacant as Chauhan was appointed governor of Bihar.
The campaigning for Ghosi assembly bypoll came to an end on Saturday evening.