With BSP, Cong opting out, all eyes on Dalit votes in Mainpuri bypoll

With BSP, Cong opting out, all eyes on Dalit votes in Mainpuri bypoll

bahujan samaj party and Congress flag.

VIVEK TRIPATHI Mainpuri, Nov 20 (IANS) Dalit voters will play a decisive role in the bypoll to the Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat, which fell vacant after the death of Samajwadi Party (SP) founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, as the BSP and the Congress will not be in the fray. Polling will take place on December 5. The contest in Mainpuri, considered to be an SP bastion, is between Mulayam Singh's daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav and the BJP's Raghunath Shakya. Mulayam Singh had first contested from Mainpuri seat in 1996 and won. Since then, the seat has remained with the SP. According to the political pundits, the elections of Mainpuri were fought on the basis of caste only. This is reason why apart from the issues or wave in the byelection, both SP and BJP are eyeing the caste equations. The emphasis of SP is to break into other castes, besides Yadav and Muslim. On the other hand, the BJP is trying to attract Kshatriya, Brahmin, Lodhi and Vaishya vote bank and penetrate the electoral divide with the help of Shakya candidate. Election statistics from Mainpuri shows that though the BSP has contested many Lok Sabha elections in Mainpuri and may not have won, the party's performance has always been good. Due to its core voters, the BSP has also been at number two. This time, with BSP not in fray, all parties are eyeing the core vote bank of the BSP. The party which will be able to divert the BSP's vote on its side will succeed in the election. In 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the BSP gave a fight to the SP. Even though it could not win, BSP candidate Vinay Shakya got 2.19 lakh votes. While in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BSP candidate Sanghamitra Maurya secured 1.42 lakh votes in SP's bastion. However, the BSP did not contest from Mainpuri seat in 2019 due to its poll alliance with the SP. In 2019, Mulayam Singh won the election by getting 5,24,926 votes, and the BJP candidate was defeated by about 94,000 votes. If local analysts are to be believed, the BJP knows that it can sail through with the help of Dalit voters. That's why it has deployed minister Aseem Arun and MP Ramshankar Katheria to woo the Dalit vote bank. Along with this, many other Dalit class leaders are also engaged in breaking into this vote bank. State BJP General Secretary Organisation Dharampal himself is focusing on this seat. He visited the constituency twice and has held meetings till booth level. Apart from this, every big and small worker is working with full force. On the other hand, SP has also fielded many big leaders from BSP to woo the voters of Dalit and Shakya communities. The SP's emphasis is on keeping the Dalit vote bank intact with Muslims and Yadavs (MY). Dalit leaders have been instructed to camp in villages. However, it is believed that Dalit voters hesitate to go with Yadavs. This has been seen in several elections. If it happens this time too, it can be very difficult for the SP. There are about 17 lakh voters in Mainpuri. Of them, around 4.30 lakh are Yadavs, 2.80 lakh are Shakyas and 1.80 lakh are Dalits. Similarly, there are more than two lakh Thakurs, and 1.20 lakh Brahmins. There are also one lakh Lodhi voters, 60,000 Muslims and 70,000 Vaishyas in Mainpuri. Senior political analyst P.N. Dwivedi says that this time in Mainpuri by-election, there is a direct fight between the SP and the BJP. According to the equation of castes, no one is less than the other. SP is fighting to save Mulayam's legacy, while the BJP wants to take lead by winning the seat. BJP knows that if Mainpuri seat comes in their lap, then their path will be easier in the coming times. Dwivedi says that looking at the equation, the Jatav vote is the deciding factor and that's why both the parties are trying to woo them. It is for sure that whatever may be the result, the contest is going to be very interesting.

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