In Chandauli’s four constituencies—Mughalsarai, Saiyadraja, Sakaldiha and Chakia—BJP hopes to emerge as a strong contestant by consolidating the non-Yadav OBCs like the Lodh, Rajbhar and the Muarya along with its core Brahmin and Kshatriya votes. BJP, which lost all four seats in 2012, made a strong comeback in 2014 with its candidate Mahendra Nath Pandey winning the Chandauli Lok Sabha seat with 42% votes.
“The youth across all castes, including Yadavs, are with us. Last time Mukhtar Ansari dented our Kshatriya votes by fielding a Rajput candidate on his Quami Ekta Dal’s ticket. This time the Kshatriyas will vote en bloc for us, and so will Lodh, Maurya and the Rajbhar communities. We will win Mughalsarai,” asserted Gopal Singh, former block president of the BJP in Mughalsarai. Other BJP office bearers in its war room in Western Bazar claimed BJP candidate Sadhna Singh will attract some Muslim votes as she, as the president of the traders’ association, took up the issues of Muslim traders.
Youths in the town seemed upbeat about the BJP. “Young people are voting for the BJP. But it may get a jolt in rural pockets where SP, BSP will lead because of people voting on caste lines,” said a youth, Keshav Maurya at IP Mughal Mall, Mughalsarai. Sadhna Singh faces competition from Tilakdhari Bind of BSP and Babulal Yadav of Samajwadi Party.
BJP insiders said the SP and the Bahujan Samaj Party are neck and neck and hence the Muslims will split, not being able to decide who is best placed to defeat the BJP.
‘Youths in the town seemed upbeat about the BJP’.
In Saiyadraja, where BJP polled only 4,280 votes in 2012 because of PMSP candidate and don Brijesh Singh usurping its entire vote base, is confident of a win. “We will get the strong backing of Mauryas and Rajbhars besides all our upper caste votes that Brijesh took away last time,” BJP workers said.
Brijesh Singh’s nephew Sushil Singh is the BJP candidate. Brijesh had lost to independent Manoj Kumar by barely 2,000 votes the last time. Giving competition to the don’s nephew is Vineet Singh, another don, from the BSP. Sitting MLA Manoj Kumar is contesting on an SP ticket. Most locals said it is a triangular contest, but some said Manoj Singh may scrape through.
In Sakaldiha, BJP’s chances have brightened as incumbent Sushil Singh, who got 66,509 votes as independent, has switched to Saiyadraja where he is contesting on a BJP ticket. BJP booth level activists told this reporter they are confident Sushil will be able to transfer his votes to Suryamuni Tiwari of BJP. Most people interviewed by this reporter at Sakaldiha Sadan Kshetra said the contest is between Tiwari and SP’s Prabhunarayan Yadav, who had finished second in 2012 with 59,661 votes. In nearby Tajpur and Durgapur villages, many villagers said they would vote for Upendra Singh Guddu of the BSP. But there were no dearth of BJP supporters either. Chandauli will vote on 8 March.