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Will 'SP ties' cost UP BJP chief his seat?
May 03, 2007 10:14 IST
It is going to be a clash of titans in the Allahabad (South) assembly constituency, where a Bharatiya Janata Party stalwart's bid to retain his seat has been challenged by a Congress candidate with decent reputation and a formidable legacy.
State BJP president and former Uttar Pradesh assembly Speaker Kesari Nath Tripathi, who had managed to win the seat in the last elections with a margin of under 2,000 votes, is bracing for a tougher battle this time with Congress having roped in its national women's wing chief and former Allahabad Mayor, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, better known as the daughter of the late H N Bahuguna.
Tripathi, who has had two controversial tenures as assembly speaker, is trying hard to woo the voters who complain about his alleged neglect of the constituency.
Making matters worse for him are indifferent party cadres who say on condition of anonymity that Tripathi's 'close ties' with Samajwadi Party, particularly its local strongman and lawmaker Atiq Ahmed, are a cause for embarrassment.
They also point to the fact that Tripathi as the Speaker had approved the breaking away of 37 legislators from the Bahujan Samaj Party, helping the installation of the Mulayam Singh Yadav government.
However, some Congress insiders beg to differ, pointing out that Joshi is viewed with 'suspicion' by most people as she has been in and out of the party in the last one decade.
Besides, the fact that she had quit Congress in 1990s and won the Mayor's post as Samajwadi Party candidate only to return to Congress a few years later and her alleged role in denial of party ticket to veteran leader Ashok Bajpai, leading to his joining BSP, have not gone down well with many old-timers.
Bajpai, son of veteran Congress leader Rajendra Kumari Bajpai, a staunch rival of H N Bahuguna, has been obliged by BSP, which has fielded his son from Allahabad (North), the seat to which he was a claimant.
Meanwhile, amidst the essentially BJP versus Congress battle, Samajwadi Party and the BSP are not among also-rans.
SP has fielded Jamunotri Gupta, wife of local industrialist and party parliamentarian from Banda Shyam Charan Gupta. Through his candidature, the party would be trying to attract Vaishya community votes, which are aplenty in the area.
However, BSP's decision to field local businessman Nand Kumar Gupta is posing a head-on challenge to the Samajwadi Party's efforts to woo Vaishyas. Besides, BSP feels it has better chances with the trading community, which has suffered a lot on account of power shortage and poor law and order situation during SP rule.