Suresh Bansal knows he has a mountain to climb in Ghaziabad. He was the second choice of the SP-BSP-RLD alliance from this seat, and his name was declared only 10 days ago, against the BJP’s General VK Singh who won in 2014 from here by a record 560,000-plus votes. “I am from the Vaish samaj – business community, which was harassed by demonetisation and GST, and which is solidly with me. So are the Jats and Muslims as we are in an alliance. How can I lose?” Bansal, a former BSP MLA from Ghaziabad city seat told in Muradnagar’s Nagia-Atour village on Tuesday. Bansal cited the “Kairana model” to claim Jats and Muslims are totally behind the alliance and not the BJP. “The division of Jat and Muslim votes in these polls is a myth,” he said.
The alliance did an unexpected switch after the seat had fallen in the Samajwadi Party’s quota of 37 seats. The district president of SP from Ghaziabad and three-time MLA, Surendra Kumar Munni, was dropped as the candidate and Bansal made an overnight switch from the BSP to the SP which then declared him as its new candidate. “They changed their candidate a day after the BJP announced that General VK Singh will contest again from Ghaziabad given his performance. This showed the panic in the alliance and a return to caste politics for them,” a senior BJP leader looking at western UP. Bansal is, however, telling the electorate in public meetings that Singh scarcely visited the constituency for the past five years. “Has he been with you in your happy or sad occasions? He gets 50 people when he goes to do a public meeting now. I am your own. I reply to every missed call I get on my phone,” he said in Nagia-Atour village.
Bansal is, however, telling the electorate in public meetings that Singh scarcely visited the constituency for the past five years. “Has he been with you in your happy or sad occasions? He gets 50 people when he goes to do a public meeting now. I am your own. I reply to every missed call I get on my phone,” he said in Nagia-Atour village. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s rally earlier this week for Singh in Ghaziabad’s Bisada village, where Mohd Ikhlaq was lynched, raised communal tempers in the entire constituency. Bansal said, though, that he is “much more a Hindu than anyone else” and that the BJP is only trying to polarise the atmosphere. “They had earlier disturbed Hindu-Muslim harmony. I am Hindu too… I am a Hanuman-bhakt,” he said. Many locals told that there was perceptible enthusiasm in the ranks of the alliance but it may not be enough to topple the BJP here.