For Amrendra Nishad, a politician from Gorakhpur, it is a ‘ghar wapsi’ of sorts. On April 19, Nishad left the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) along with his mother Rajmati Nishad, a former Gorakhpur MLA, returned to the Samajwadi Party (SP) after 42 days’ stay in the saffron camp. Amrendra is the son of former SP heavyweight, the late Jamuna Nishad.
On the same day, the sitting BJP MP from Machhali Shahar, Ram Charit Nishad, also joined the SP, days after he was denied a party ticket and the BJP fielded VP Saroj instead.
This trend of local BJP leaders switching over to the SP-BSP-RLD Gathbandhan is a matter of worry for the BJP during these Lok Sabha elections.
These leaders joined SP in the presence of party president Akhilesh Yadav and he indicated during a press conference that the party might give Ram Charit Nishad a ticket in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.
Also read: Elections 2019: UP Gathbandhan to Gain Owing to Lack of Support for BJP Candidate in Gorakhpur
Asked why he had quit the BJP, Amrendra Nishad told Newsclick, “The reason I quit the BJP is because people of lower caste do not get respect in the saffron party. I was misled by the BJP’s slogan, ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’, before joining the party. But in reality, there is no such thing within the party. The BJP does not want the backward communities to be benefitted and is instead giving advantage to the forward communities. The party only wants to cash in on our community votes, but does not want to give us a share according to our participation. My mother and I stayed in BJP for 42 days, but were not given any post nor asked to attend any party rally.”
Reacting over Ravi Kishan’s candidature from Gorakhpur, Amrendra said the people of Gorakhpur want a ‘politician’ and not an ‘actor’ or ‘outsider’, and that the BJP would realise its mistake on May 23, when the election results are announced.
The SP has fielded Ram Bhuwal Nishad in Gorakhpur.
As per numerous reports, caste has been the dominating factor for the BJP in deciding their MP candidates. It is speculated that sitting MP Praveen Nishad was denied a ticket from Gorakhpur allegedly on the basis of his religious and caste identity, while Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan, who is a Brahmin, was fielded by the BJP.
Apart from Amrendra, Praveen Nishad, sitting MP from Gorakhpur on the SP symbol joined the BJP earlier this month and there was speculation Praveen would be the party’s candidate from Gorakhpur, but he too did not get the ticket and has instead been fielded from Sant Kabeer Nagar.
With 3.5 lakh OBC Nishad community voters in Gorakhpur, the community can change the game and the votes will be polarized in the favour of SP's candidate Ram Bhual Nishad.
Meanwhile, Machhali Shahar MP Ram Charit Nishad was upset over not being given a ticket by the BJP, with party choosing VP Saroj instead. Saroj was in Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and had joined the BJP on March 22. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Nishad had defeated Saroj by a huge margin.
Meanwhile, Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party, founded in 2002, was an ally of the saffron party but last week broke the alliance with the BJP-led NDA. Its party chief Om Prakash Rajbhar accused the ruling BJP of conspiring to weaken his party by bringing Akhil Bhartiya Rajbhar Sangathan into the electoral fray.
Rajbhar, who is a cabinet minister in the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, has also tendered his resignation from the post. The party is going solo in the Lok Sabha elections because it was not given enough seats under the alliance to contest in its area of influence.
In eastern UP after Yadavs, the Rajbhar community constitutes 20 per cent of the Purvanchal population and is regarded as the most politically dominant community.
Uttar Pradesh is going to see polling across the seven phases from April 11 till May 19. The counting of votes will be held on May 23.
Also read: Elections 2019: Major Setback for BJP in UP, Rajbhar Party's SBSP to Contest Solo