Voters picked up caste card in Shahjahanpur
LUCKNOW: The Samajwadi Party's (SP) victory in the Shahajahanpur Lok Sabha by-poll here is clearly a victory of the Muslim-Yadav mandate. It is also a verdict of the electorate against the rampant groupism in the Congress and the BJP.
SP nominee Rammurti Singh Verma defeated Kanta Prasada, his nearest rival and wife of late Jitendra Prasada, by a margin of more than 23,000 votes.
The sympathy factor did not work for Prasada, as the Congress had expected, while the development plank of the ruling BJP also failed to entice the voters. The electorate only picked up the SP's caste card, taking their tally to 30. ``The victory has established that only the SP is the right answer to the communal BJP in the Hindi heartland. The Congress anyway was never in the reckoning, and remains so,'' said Ram Sharan Das, state SP chief.
The surprise result should sound alarm bells for the BJP to end infighting before it is too late for the Assembly polls. Gajraj Singh Yadav, who had crossed over from the SP to the BJP just before the poll, pinned a part of the blame for the party's debacle on the choice of candidate. ``Tourism Minister Ashok Yadav was dumped for former minister Satyapal Singh Yadav, who took the party from the third position last time to the fourth this time. He bagged only 94,320 votes while BSP's Anees Ahmed finished third with 98,152 votes,'' said Yadav.
The Congress was too complacent, expecting too much from a sympathy wave for the widow of Prasada, who had got unequivocal support of all sections of the electorate in 1980, 1984 and 1999 elections. This explains why the managers didn't even feel the need to flash Sonia's face on the banners.
The BJP, meanwhile, put up a brave front.``It is caste politics. Anyway, we have lost nothing; the SP has wrested the seat from the Congress,'' said Vijay Pathak, media in-charge of the state unit.