But, on Sunday, his target at the public meeting there was not Modi. It was Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati. “This is the same Mayawati who had supported Narendra Modi's carnage,” he reminded the voters.
Sixty hours ahead of polling in Badaun, Kalyan's statement points to the desperation in the Samajwadi Party camp. His target audience, the Lodhs, do not have a significant presence in the constituency, but every vote counts.
The caste equations in Badaun suggest an upper hand for SP candidate Dharmendra Yadav, the nephew of Mulayam Singh. The constituency has over 3.5 lakh Yadavs and 2.80 lakh Muslims. The SC voters also number over 1.5 lakh. Next are Shakyas, who are also over 1.5 lakh.
But the move of five-time MP Salim Sherwani from SP to the Congress camp has precipitated a possible crisis — the loss of Muslim votes. Sherwani was denied the ticket this time to accommodate Dharmendra. Plus, the Congress support to the Mahan Dal candidate in Aonla may help them bag Shakya votes in Badaun as well.
The BSP’s fielding of don-turned-legislator DP Yadav has thrown the other challenge — the split of Mulayam’s Yadav votebank.
The JD(U)-BJP candidate D K Bhardwaj is also in the fray because of JD(U) president Sharad Yadav’s links with Badaun. Sharad was elected to the Lok Sabha from here in 1989. He has also been camping here to garner support for Bhardwaj.
The delimitation has brought Mulayam’s favourite assembly seat — Yadav dominated Gunnaur in Badaun. As the chief minister, that was the constituency he represented in the state assembly.
Gunnaur has a high Yadav population and Mulayam can never afford to lose Badaun. “Our family has an emotional attachment to Badaun,” said Dharmendra. “We never play politics here. Even Netaji never talks politics during his speeches here. My family members represented this district thrice in the state assembly and twice in Parliament.”
But despite such strong association, the SP grip appears to be slipping. The results of the last assembly election in Badaun were a major setback for Mulayam. Of the five assembly seats, the party could capture only Gunnaur.
While the Badaun assembly seat went to the BJP, two seats — Bisauli and Sahaswan — were won by DP Yadav and his wife Umilesh, both of whom later joined the BSP. The BSP candidate Yogendra Sagar had won the Bilsi seat.
Consequently, a considerable part of the SP’s energy is going into re-establishing itself there, which must be the only constituency where the SP chief has so far held six public meetings.
“He had held his first meeting in Sahswan. On Friday and Saturday, he held meetings in all five assembly constituencies — Badaun, Bilsi, Sahaswan, Gunnaur and Bissauli — in three phases,” said Munir Ahmad, one of the partymen present in the SP office.
The SP state president Sheo Pal Singh Yadav, Mulyam’s younger brother, has been camping in Gunnaur’s Bathurala. Mulayam’s son Akhilesh Yadav will address three meetings in Kachchala (Badaun), Rajpura (Gunnaur) and Wazirganj (Badaun) on May 11. Mulayam’s brother and parliamentarian from Rajya Sabha, Professor Ram Gopal, has already campaigned in two assembly segments, Gunnaur and Bisauli.
Besides, a number of SP leaders, including the general secretary of the party’s state unit, Om Prakash Singh, are also camping in Badaun. The MP from Ballia seat, Neeraj Shekhar, has been trying to mobilise the Thakur votes.
The massive effort on part of the SP speaks volumes about the effective strategy worked out by both Congress and the BSP.
“Our candidate DP Yadav started campaign about a year ago. We hope to bag Muslim votes for the first time in this constituency,” said Ram Murthi Advocate, BSP’s district unit president. He confirmed that DP Yadav is spending most of his time in the Mulayam bastion, Gunnaur.
The crowds that gather in the Congress office indicate that the party is back in the reckoning. “I have never seen such gatherings in the office of the party candidate since the Ayodhya dispute,” said Raghunandan Sharma (75), who was present there.
Sherwani’s fate depends on his ability to woo voters of Shakya community. “The party has worked to bring Shakya voters into its fold. The Mahan Dal, which is associated with the Shakyas, has already extended its support,” said Saad Sherwani, his son.
A visit to the Moger Gauriya village on the Aonla-Badaun road makes it clear that the Congress is in position to bag a chunk of Shakya votes. “We traditionally voted for the BJP. This time, we will vote for the hand,” Ram Singh Shakya told this reporter.
sir ap muslamano ke sath hone ka dawa karte ho magar ap bhi apni baat per atal nahi ho apne kaha tha jaha muslaman candidate ki zarurat hogi waha muslaman candidate ko tickit diya jayga magar ap aisa nahi kar rahe is tarha kya ap asarkar la sakte hai mera ye sawal shri:mulayam singh ji se ,akilesh yadav ji se aur ramgopal ji se hai