Voting Begins for UP Bypolls, Bhim Army Looks to Make Inroads in Bulandshahr's Multi-cornered Fight
File photo: Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad at a protest in New Delhi on Friday. (AFP)
The voting for bypolls to seven Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh began on Tuesday morning and the results will be declared on November 10. Interestingly, the by-poll on Bulandshahr Sadar assembly seat has turned into a multi-corner fight with the candidate of Chandra Shekhar Azad’s political party gaining traction over candidates of other political parties.
Notably, the BJP has fielded Usha Sirohi, wife of former BJP MLA Virendra Singh Sirohi, while the BSP has given the ticket to Mohammad Yunus. The Congress has fielded Sushil Chaudhary. Meanwhile, RLD has fielded Praveen Singh with the support of the Samajwadi Party. The Azad Samaj Party has fielded Haji Yamin who is not just attracting minority voters but is also looking to emerge as an alternative to the BSP's candidate.
The police and administration have ramped up security and made arrangements for strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocol. In the last assembly elections in 2017, the late MLA from this seat Haji Alim was defeated by late BJP MLA Virender Sirohi who won with 23,084 votes, while SP candidate Shujat Alam had bagged third place with 24,030 votes.
The SC and Muslim vote percentage in Sadar seat is about 35 to 40 percent. Out of total voters, 20,6452 are male voters, while female voters are 18,2026. A total of 3,88,506 voters will cast their votes in the by-elections this time.
An analysis of the caste equation shows that there are around 53,213 Jatav voters, 11,460 Balmiki voters, 33,863 Jat community voters, 5,377 Yadav voters, 31,914 Lodhi voters, and 19,517 Thakur voters. Besides this, there are 30,072 voters from the Vaishya community, 99,247 Muslim voters, 5,231 Punjabi voters, and around 56,400 voters from other communities.
This time, 18 candidates are in the fray, along with five independents from Bulandshahr Sadar seat. Speaking about the bye-polls, ADM E Ravindra Kumar said, “All preparations have been completed for the upcoming election on November 3. Sadar region is divided into 53 sectors, a large number of police forces will be deployed at all booths so that elections can be conducted in a peaceful manner.”
The Bulandshahr Sadar seat was won by BJP’s Virendra Singh Sirohi in the 2017 Assembly polls but the seat fell vacant after his demise. The seat has been earlier represented twice by BSP candidate Mohd Aleem Khan. Azad Samaj Party's decision to field a Muslim candidate also leaves room for splitting up of votes from the minority and backward communities. In such a scenario, this may give an edge to BJP.