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Bhojpuri Star Wars in Gorakhpur

This time, the BJP too is wooing the community by promoting its ally Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal (NISHAD) president and state minister Sanjay Nishad…reports Asian Lite News

With two Bhojpuri filmstars in the fray, both the BJP and the SP are relying on star power to bag the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat, considered a pocket borough of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

While the BJP is banking on sitting MP Ravi Kishan, the Samajwadi Party (SP) has fielded actress Kajal Nishad from the seat. A total of 13 candidates, including Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) Javed Simnani, are contesting from the seat, but political experts say the main fight is between the BJP and the SP.

Flaunting his success in the Bhojpuri film industry, Kishan is also wooing the voters by invoking the names of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Adityanath. At the same time, his opponent Nishad is often seen challenging the BJP candidate from the stage in a filmy style.

Nishad has been calling Kishan an “outsider” in Gorakhpur while claiming that she is the “daughter-in-law” of the people and “from your house”. In his response, Kishan has said that as the sitting MP, he has been serving the people for the last five years.

On the campaign trail, Kishan is seen trying his hand at wrestling with the youth and posing for selfies in a bid to strike a chord with the local residents.

With Adityanath’s prestige at stake, the BJP is pulling out all stops to retain the seat and the chief minister often highlights Kishan’s superstar status during his poll meetings here.

Also the Peethadheeshwar of the famous ‘Gorakshapeeth’ (Gorakhnath temple), Adityanath won the seat five times in a row from 1998 to 2014. In the by-elections held after he became the CM in 2017, the SP won from here, however, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP reclaimed the seat with Kishan as its candidate.

In the 19 elections held here so far, including two by-elections in 1970 and 2018, three generations of Gorakshapeeth have won the elections 10 times. Adityanath has tasted success five times, his guru Mahant Avedyanath four times and guru Mahant Digvijay Nath once.

Meanwhile, the SP is determined to breach the BJP bastion like in 2018.

“Our candidate Kajal Nishad will win the election by a margin of at least 1.5 lakh votes,” SP state secretary and former deputy mayor of Gorakhpur Municipal Corporation Ziaul Islam said.

Reacting to some BJP leaders claiming that the BSP candidate will divide the Muslim votes, which will benefit the saffron party, Islam said, “Javed Simnani contested against us in the 2006 municipal corporation elections from Muftipur ward and lost. He got only 312 votes, so you can imagine his fate (in these elections).” With voting in Gorakhpur scheduled for June 1, caste equations are also being played out.

Gorakhpur has 4 lakh Nishad voters and in the last several general elections, opposition parties have focused on fielding Nishad candidates. In the 2018 by-election, Praveen Nishad, son of Nishad Party President Sanjay Nishad, had won on an SP ticket though, he later joined the BJP.

This time, the BJP too is wooing the community by promoting its ally Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal (NISHAD) president and state minister Sanjay Nishad.

However, Raghuvar Nishad, a 35-year-old farmer, said many from the community have decided to vote for the SP because “if Kajal Nishad does not win the election, then our society will become weak.” Local businessman Sanjay Shrivastava said, “While the opposition parties have tried to divide voters on caste lines, the people of Gorakhpur are with the BJP due to its development agenda and the influence of CM Yogi.”

There are a total of 20,97,202 voters in the Gorakhpur parliamentary constituency, out of which 11,23,868 are male, 973160 female and 174 third gender voters.

BJP candidate slams Tharoor 

Ravi Kishan, who is the BJP’s candidate from Gorakhpur, hit out Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, calling him an “angrez aadmi” after the latter predicted that it would be difficult for the BJP to even cross 300 seats in the Lok Sabha elections.

Hitting back at Tharoor, the BJP MP from Gorakhpur said, “Shashi Tharoor is ‘angrez aadmi’. We go to Manali and Shimla on vacations; they come to India during elections. They neither know the country nor its villages. They don’t know this sweat…”

He also underlined the importance of the Bhojpuri language, which made him, as per him, a “superstar.”

“I have always spoken Bhojpuri…My speeches have been in Bhojpuri. This is our mother tongue, our identity. Bhojpuri made me a superstar. We fought for Bhojpuri, and a bill was brought in for the inclusion of the language in the 8th schedule (of the Constitution)…The youth will not leave their identity,” the BJP MP added.

Ravi Kishan is seeking second term from Gorakhpur. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Kishan emerged victorious against Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate Rambhual Nishad with a margin of 3,01,664 votes.

Gorakhpur, Apr 02 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Ravi Kishan prepares snacks at Nishad Sweet House located at Khirvania intersection in Jharwa, in Gorakhpur on Tuesday. (ANI Photo)

Uttar Pradesh is voting in all seven phases of the Lok Sabha polls, the last phase of which is scheduled for June 1. The Congress is fighting the polls in partnership with the Samajwadi Party in the state and has a seat-sharing agreement with each other.

As per the seat agreement, Congress is contesting 17 seats, and the Samajwadi Party has the remaining 63 seats in the electorally crucial state.

In the 2019 general elections, the BJP emerged triumphant, securing 62 out of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh, supplemented by two seats clinched by its ally Apna Dal (S). Mayawati’s BSP managed to secure 10 seats, while Akhilesh Yadav’s SP garnered five. Conversely, the Congress party secured only one seat.

The election for 543 Lok Sabha seats will be held in seven phases starting April 19. The counting of the votes will be held on June 4. (ANI)

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