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Nishad and Peace Party Alliance May Spoil BJP, SP, BSP Fortunes in East UP

The Peace Party had been a successful political phenomenon in 2012 UP assembly polls with the party wining 4 seats, out of which Khalilabad and Dumariyaganj were from East UP. Both these 2 seats have already gone for voting in phase 5 polling. While Peace Party floted by Dr Ayuub had been predominantly an outfit of Backward Muslims.known as 'Pasmanda Muslims', the NISHAD party formed by Dr Sanjay Nishad is a new phenomenon.

Pranshu Mishra | CNN-News18

Updated:March 2, 2017, 5:34 PM IST
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Nishad and Peace Party Alliance May Spoil BJP, SP, BSP Fortunes in East UP
Voters are in queue to cast their vote at a polling station in Uttar Pradesh/PTI Photo
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Gorakhpur: Amidst high decibel campaign by major political parties like the BJP, BSP and the Samajwadi Party, there is a strong political undercurrent in Eastern Uttar Pradesh which has by and large gone unnoticed so far.

In the electoral battle of East UP especially in Phase 6 and also to an extent in Phase 7 of UP polls‎, it is the newly formed political outfit called Nirbal Indian Shoshit Humara Dal (NISHAD) and its alliance with the Peace Party, Apna Dal (Krishna Patel) and Jan Adhikar Manch of Babu Singh Kushwaha, which has now emerged as a major political force.

The formation of alliance of between these small parties has emerged as a strong force on a few seats and has the potential to disturb calculations of the three major stake holders-BSP, BJP and SP- on several other seats.

The Peace Party had been a successful political phenomenon in 2012 UP assembly polls with the party wining 4 seats, out of which Khalilabad and Dumariyaganj were from East UP. Both these 2 seats have already gone for voting in phase 5 polling. While Peace Party floted by Dr Ayuub had been predominantly an outfit of Backward Muslims.known as 'Pasmanda Muslims', the NISHAD party formed by Dr Sanjay Nishad is a new phenomenon.

NISHAD was formed only in April 2015. Before that Dr Sanjay was already busy organising this dominant most backward caste on lines of a social movement for quiet some time. The Nishad represents those sub castes of the backward community who had been in the profession of rowing boats, catching fishes or on small trades dependent on rivers and ponds. The prominent backward castes which come under the umberlla of larger Nishad identity are Kewat, Mallah, Majhi, Rajbhar, Gond, Kashyap and Kahar.

Together this community constitutes around 17 Percent of population in east UP. This along with nearly 14 percent of minority population gives the 'Nishad-Peace' party combination‎ a large section of voters to work upon.

Dr Sanjay Nishad says " Nishads have for long supported BSP under late MLA and Minister Jamuna Nishad. After Jamuna Ji's death in 2013 the community was left with no towering leader. BJP, BSP and SP have only used us as their vote bank. Therefore we decided to have our own political party."

In Phase 6 of polling this alliance, basically reflecting aspirations of marginalised poor Muslims and Backward castes, is contesting on 26 seats including all 9 in Gorakhpur. While NISHAD party is contesting Goraphur rural, Chauri Chaura, Bansgaon, Chilupar, Khajni, Shahjanwa and Campiyarganj, Peace party is contesting on Gorakhpur city and Pipraiych assembly constitutency.

As per the demographic statistics on most of these seats, Nishad constitute between 30 to 50 thousand voters.

Dr Sanjay who is also the candidate from Gorakhpur rural seat says "The community had pledged to support the Nishad party because it is committed ‎to their cause. Last time in 2012 Peace Party had lost around a dozen seats by margin of 5 to 10 thousand votes. The alliance therefore makes our electoral prospects much better."

Dr Harsh Kumar of the Gorakhpur University agree to this Nishad Phenomenon.

He says "Politics of East UP had been fertile for Nishad dominated backward caste politics.The community has a strong presence on all 28 Assembly constituencies of Gorakhpur division."

Harsh Kumar further adds "While Other Backward Castes (OBC) like Yadavs in central UP have moved ahead after taking the reins of political power under the Samajwadi party, OBCs epecially Nishads felt deprived of gains in absence of political power. Hence,‎ there is an increasing consciousness about greater political clout in the community."

It is this phenomenon which makes battle in East UP interesting. SP is banking on the likes of Amrendra Nishad,son of late Jamuna Nishad. Amrendra is also SP candidate from Pipraich. ‎BJP has been working day and night to keep the community in good faith. It realises the fact that Yogi Adityanath factor puts Nishads at unease. Jamuna Nishad in his life time had been a symbol of resistance to Yogi's politics.

The high stakes in the region is evident by fact that Akhilesh has held atleast 5 rallies in different constituencies of Gorakhpur. Amit Shah had been constantly visiting Gorakhpur and is concluding the campaign in the city with a grand road show on Feburary 2, the last day of Phase 6 campaign.

BJP's state general secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak, however, denies any threat to BJP's poll prospects.

Pathak says "We are a political party and all leaders from top to bottom play a role in the election exercise. Varanasi and Gorakhpur are no doubt the areas of key focus. People of UP are with BJP and the party will form a Majority government."

| Edited by: Nakshab Khan
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