Is it one-sided matter in Varanasi?

Varanasi, : Belief is often said to be a cause and a source of happiness.
People in Varanasi also, perhaps, believed that parliamentary elections would offer excitement like 2014. But many say they have been let down.
It has become a one sided matter.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will win with good margins as the Congress and Samajwadi-BSP-RLD alliance could not put up a good fight.
In terms of contest in eastern Uttar Pradesh, common people say there was lot of expectation from the Congress – which still has a strong support base. But the complaint remains that the grand old party could not take the contest to its logical end.
Many citizens here say there was a ‘lack of sincerity’ in Congress and even after Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra joined the campaign trail and was named as AICC general secretary – there was no solid planning to move things on ground.
Visit in various parts of the city including gullies would suggest that the natives are not much interested about the so called ‘do or die’ elections.
“We thought there would be good fight. By some standards, in 2014, there was a contest as AAP leader from Delhi Arvind Kejriwal took on Mr Modi. But not this time. Now even those who want to vote against BJP knows pretty well that Mr Modi’s victory from the constituency is much easier,” says local businessman Santosh Kumar.
Even in 2009 – there was much of political excitement as senior BJP leader Dr Murli Manohor Joshi was in the contest for the first time. Prior to that Mr Joshi used to contest from Allahabad.
Agreeing with Santosh Kumar, a hotelier Irfan Mia, says – “It is sad to note that the Congress is not seen in contest. When the results come not only in Varanasi, but in key eastern UP hubs like Gorakhpur, the Congress could have put up a better show had there been proper strategy and planning”.
What’s people’s main grudge against the Congress?
Firstly, they say – at least in Varanasi – the Congress should have fielded a senior leader and a more ‘known face’.
“After initial hype of Priyanka Gandhi herself contesting fizzled out– the Congress has left it to Ajay Rai – who not only lost 2014 Lok Sabha polls against Modi by a huge margin, but it is also a fact that Mr Rai also lost assembly elections in 2017 too,” says a Congress supporter.
This is not to undermine Ajay Rai as a candidate, at least he took on the fight, local citizens say.
Voters in key eastern UP political hubs say the Congress should have done proper planning and ‘organising’ of things to exploit its “potential support” base.
On this score – admit many senior citizens especially retired government servants that despite potential to fight it well Gorakhpur to Azamgarh to Varanasi – the Congress is not seen in contest.
“If things could not be organised, the Congress and SP-BSP-RLD should have worked harder, held more meetings to ensure the alliance,” says sweat shop owner Rajendra Gupta.
This is the reason, he explains the city today is giving a peculiar indifferent look.
Endorsing this view, a BJP worker says – “Elections may come, elections may go. People are giving an impression that life of commoners would continue. The focus is on day to day challenges – they say”.
So much is ‘weakness’ in Congress candidate today that locals say possibly the Mahagatbandhan nominee Shalini Yadav may easily poll more votes than Ajay Rai of the Congress, simply on the arithmetic of the alliance.
But those who believe in ‘fighting it out’ in politics have not yet given up.
“Shalini Yadav is the main opposition nominee as Samajwadi candidate. Now, all eyes are May 16 rally to be addressed by SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, BSP supremo Mayawati and RLD leader Ajit Singh. She will put up a fight to Modi and perhaps bring down the victory margin,” says Samajwadi Party worker Neelima Singh.
In terms of statistics, in 2014 while Congress candidate bagged 75,000 votes to finish third after Mr Modi and AAP leader Mr Kejriwal, the SP vote share was 45,000 and the BSP candidate got 60,000.
In a record victory, Mr Modi polled more than 5.8 lakh votes making it 56 per cent of the total votes cast while Mr Kejriwal had finished second by polling 2.09 lakh votes.
BJP supporters, however, say there is definitely all the excitement. “You talk to any youth and local citizen near the Ghat, there is Modi, Modi sloganeering. People have made up their mind both in Varanasi and the rest of UP – Phir Ekbar, Modi Sarkar,” says one ABVP activist.
Varanasi will vote on May 19 — the seventh and last phase of the general elections in the country.


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