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BJP and Congress battling it out; alliance trying to make it triangular

The seat has 39% Backwards, 18% SC/STs, 14% Muslims and 12% Brahmins. Banias and Thakurs account for 5% each.

, ET Bureau|
May 16, 2019, 07.23 AM IST
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Congress leader RPN Singh.
KUSHI NAGAR: It is one of the few seats where the Congress is BJP’s nearest rival. Kushi Nagar constituency came into existence after delimitation.

The earlier constituency was Padrauna. Congress leader RPN Singh won the seat 2009 but could lost to BJP’s Rajesh Pandey by 85,000 votes in 2014.

BJP has replaced Pandey with Vijay Dubey. The SP candidate is Nathani Prasad Kushwaha, who hopes to secure the votes of 1.5 lakh Kushwahas.

SP pins its hopes on its alliance with BSP but it’s unlikely that the combined strength can match up to votes RPN Singh could secure.

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The seat has 39% Backwards, 18% SC/STs, 14% Muslims and 12% Brahmins. Banias and Thakurs account for 5% each. In 2014, BJP polled 39% and Congress 30%. BJP is banking on retaining the same percentage. Despite voter unhappiness over the outgoing MP, ‘Modi factor’ may persuade them to choose BJP.

“If it was the same candidate, I would not have voted for BJP,” says Ram Prasad Rao from Sohsa village, 10 km from Hata market. “We tell all parties that we will vote for them, but our vote is for Modi,” says Bunni Lal Patel in Devrajpur market. “The MP or the MLA has not done anything but country needs Modi,” he contended.

BJP seems to have traction among Chauhans, Nishads, Nais, etc. Former Pradhan of Langdi village, Raju Chauhan, says right thinking persons would only vote for Modi. “Raja Sahab ne bahut kaam kiya hai. Par vote Modi ji ko.” However, his friend Yogendra Chauhan is not convinced with BJP and says he will vote for Congress. RPN Singh has support across communities, but Muslim could make for the largest chunk. Shakir Ali, Amin in Hata’s Madni Masjid said “transfer of BSP votes will not happen for SP. Besides, Raja sahib has done good work.”

“If SP would have contested alone, we could have voted for Kushwaha. But we know he is not winning and BJP is doing better,” says Ravindra Yadav. Ashok Yadav in Hata market says, “I will vote for Akhilesh Yadav in assembly polls but, my vote is for BJP for Lok Sabha.” Farish Ali, who owns a motor driving school says, “in other seats, Muslims are voting for the alliance but not in Kushi Nagar.” Congress hopes Kushwahas will vote for the SP and damage BJP’s chances.

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are expected to campaign for Singh on Thursday and Friday.
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