Champion’s somersaults in Haridwar

February 14, 2017 03:59 am | Updated 04:00 am IST - Khanpur (Uttarakhand)

BJP leader Kunwar Pranav Singh Champion.

BJP leader Kunwar Pranav Singh Champion.

In the Khanpur constituency of Haridwar, the contest is between Kunwar Pranav Singh Champion of the BJP and Mufti Riyasat of the BSP. A former Congress MLA, Mr. Champion was among the Congress “rebels” who opposed the Harish Rawat government and revolted against their party in the Assembly last March. The political turmoil ignited by the “rebels” had resulted in the imposition of President’s Rule in the State. An inflammatory speech made by Mr. Champion against Muslims last year had upset the community, and in the elections, they have united against him. Among 1.4 lakh voters in Khanpur, 38,000 are Muslims and 24,000 are Dalits. “Mr. Champion is the face of the Hindu-Muslim divide [in Khanpur]. His being in the BJP has made the divide more obvious,” said Manoj Kumar from Khanpur. In the 2012 Assembly polls, Mr. Champion won the seat defeating the BSP candidate. “In 2012, Mr. Champion was in the Congress, and a part of the Muslim and Dalit votes went to him. This time, Muslims will not vote for him; they will vote for the BSP candidate,” Mangta Hasan from Prahaladpur said.

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