Sultanpur/Jaunpur/Basti: In the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections tomorrow, May 12, thirteen constituencies in Uttar Pradesh will be going to polls. The constituencies are Sitapur, Pratapgarh, Phulpur, Azamgarh, Allahabad, Ambedkarnagar, Shrawasti, Dumariyaganj, Lalganj, Sant Kabir Nagar, Jaunpur, Machhlishahr and Bhadohi.
Even though earlier it had seemed that the Gathbandhan will not have a significant impact in the eastern belt of Uttar Pradesh but a visit to the constituencies makes it clear that the alliance between Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and other smaller parties is giving a tough fight to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
While the Prime Minister and his cabinet courtiers had made ‘nationalism’ a major poll plank during campaigning, the opposition has focussed on issues from the ground, including agrarian crisis, employment and others to woo the voters.
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A Starry Affair
The sixth phase of elections are also a starry affair in seats like Azamgarh and Sultanpur. In Azamgarh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Dinesh Lal Yadav, a Bhojpuri film actor who is more known by his on screen name Nirahua, against SP chief Akhilesh Yadav.
It may be mentioned that Azamgarh, due to its caste equations, was one of those rare parliamentary seats of Uttar Pradesh which did not get swept away in the 2014 Modi wave and had elected Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Former Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh is very confident of winning this seat, which he has swapped with his father Mulayam Singh Yadav. In an exclusive chat with NewsClick, he said, “The people of Azamgarh are very sensitive and they know who they have to vote for. In the last elections also they did not fall for the Jumlas (fake promises) and chose the socialist ideology. The BJP will be reduced to single digit in this elections because they have been exposed.”
Meanwhile in Sultanpur, BJP contestant Maneka Gandhi’s speeches are giving a clear indication that all is not well with her vote base. It may be noted that the BJP had swapped Varun Gandhi’s seat with his mother Maneka Gandhi.
Also Read: Elections 2019: Flavours of The Bruising Electoral Battle in UP
Maneka, in her election campaign, had made several controversial remarks, even threatening Muslim voters that they will not be given jobs if they don’t vote for her. Taking notice of her speeches, the Election Commission of India even barred her from campaigning for 72 hours.
Even after this, her son Varun Gandhi, who is the sitting MP from Sultanpur constituency, made objectionable statements taking the political discourse to a new low.
Employment: A Major Issue
Eastern UP or the Poorvanchal region is reeling under a very grave unemployment crisis. A major chunk of the population has been forced to migrate to other parts of the country like Mumbai and Ahmedabad, while Muslim youth have moved to the Middle East in search of jobs. The constituencies going to polls in the sixth phase have not seen any major industrial development as promised to them in the last five years by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The continuing agrarian crisis is another major issue in the eastern belt as non rain-fed agricultural lands are suffering from scarcity of water for irrigation.
Even though the cattle menace is not so bad in the area like western and central UP, but the problem exists here too. A lot of cattle rearers abandon their cows when they stop giving milk and people in the region, especially Muslims, are scared of buying cows.
Caste is a Major Factor
The caste factor on which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is banking on can very well give jitters to the party which is having the maximum number of parliamentarians from the state. While the Yadav, Jatav and Muslim combination is very likely go with the Gathbandhan, even the upper caste and Baniya faction may also lean towards the Gathbandhan owing to different issues like employment and others.
Rumours Flying High
After attending one of the public rallies of Yogi Adityanath in Jaunpur parliamentary constituency, NewsClick learned that the BJP has a number of rumours flying high. A large number of people who had come to attend the rally from backward, rural areas were of under the belief that the Modi-led central government has doubled up the salary of soldiers guarding the borders and have been making regular strikes on Pakistan.
Also Read: Elections 2019: Gathbandhan Leads in Phase 5 of UP; Overall, BJP Slips Further
Another major misinformation or fake news that is spreading in the region is that the government is bringing back terrorists Masood Azhar, Dawood Ibrahim and soon there will be a war on Pakistan for sheltering terrorists.
“Imran Khan bowed down to our Prime Minister Narendra Modi when wing commander Abhinandan landed in Pakistan with his head held high. He also begged Sri Narendra Modi ji to not attack Pakistan,” one of the attendants of the rally told NewsClick.