SP, BSP battling for 2nd spot in Haidergarh
Rajesh N Singh/Lucknow
If Chief Minister Rajnath Singh is heading for a cakewalk in Haidergarh, the main Opposition parties like the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party are battling for the second spot as the party finishing second at the hustings will find itself in an advantageous position in the next general elections to the state Assembly.
The caste equation in the constituency is such that, under normal circumstances, the SP candidate would have easily secured the second spot but the fielding of a Kurmi candidate by the Bahujan Samaj Party compelled the SP supremo to review the whole situation. Senior SP leader and former Union minister Beni Prasad Verma prevailed upon Mulayam Singh Yadav and finally the candidature of Rajendra Yadav, which was earlier announced, was changed and Beni's nominee, a Kurmi, was given the ticket.
According to SP insiders, initially, the party chief was unlikely to visit Haidergarh but when he was apprised of the fact that his own community was annoyed with him for dropping a Yadav candidate at the eleventh hour, Mulayam Singh decided to address a series of election meetings in Haidergarh.
If the SP is trying to consolidate its position among Yadavs and Kurmis, the BSP is eyeing the Pasi votes which comprise majority of the Dalit votes in the constituency. It is worth mentioning here that two SP legislators from Barabanki -- Kamala Rawat, a Pasi, and Sarvar Ali Khan, who were recently expelled from the party, joined hands with the BSP a few days ago. How far they will succeed in luring the Pasi and Muslim votes to the BSP fold remains to be seen.
Citing the results of the last parliamentary poll, a senior SP leader said: "Our candidate Ram Sagar Rawat emerged victorious in all the five Assembly segments, including Haidergarh, and hence I can say with confidence that Kamala Rawat is no match to Ram Sagar's popularity in the area and we are sure of getting the majority support of the Pasi community."
On the other hand, the Chief Minister's extra efforts are being viewed as a move to increase the victory margin and he is leaving no stone unturned to achieve that. The visit of state BJP chief Kalraj Misra, along with a large number of ministers from the state Cabinet, Union Communication Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and several other leaders is nothing but to further consolidate Rajnath's position, feel political observers.