The Muslim-dominated Nagina (reserved) parliamentary constituency located in Uttar Pradesh’s north-west is witnessing a tough contest between sitting MP Yashvir Singh ‘Dhobi,’ fielded again by the Samajwadi Party, Girish Chand, a former MLA contesting on a Bahujan Samaj Party ticket, and Yashwant Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Sheesh Ram Ravi, a former BJP MP from Bijnore, contesting on the Peace Party ticket and having some clout among the Dalits, the Muslims and the Gursikhs seems to be having the potential to spoil the game for the main contestants.
Sarika Choudhary, contesting on the Aam Aadmi Party ticket, is looking for a vote against corruption.
Mr. Chand is confident of winning as he was given the ticket by BSP chief Mayawati a year ago and has been working among the voters.
The BSP cadres are pitching for a vote for Mr. Chand to check BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who they believe, would end reservations in jobs and educational institutions if he became the Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, the SP cadres are seeking a vote for Mr. Singh for more development schemes with the Akhilesh Yadav government in Lucknow. Notwithstanding the rhetoric from politicians, Dalits and Muslims voters are regularly seen discussing as to who they should vote at ‘chaupals’ and ‘hukkah panchayats’ across the villages of Nagina, Dhampur, Nurpur and Nahtor.
“We will vote for the person who promises to work for the development of the villages and can also keep the BJP out,” said Arif Mohammad and Tariq Khan in Najibabad. The Muslims had not forgotten the “communal tricks” of the BJP post Ayodhya, they said. Shiekh Omar, a woodcraft entrepreneur, wondered why the aspirants were not talking of reviving the famous woodcraft industry that was dying a slow death.
“The main reasons for the decline in woodcraft production were poor power supply and lack of supporting schemes from the government,” said Rajesh Kumar, another entrepreneur. They wondered if Mr. Modi would keep the promises he had made during a recent rally in Dhampur to uplift the woodcraft industry