At a time when the political class is criss-crossing the country at a feverish pace for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, it's important to note the stations where the top leaders are touching down to connect with the electorate. This is especially true for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rallies.
The prime minister is addressing the electorate in Saharanpur and Amroha Lok Sabha constituencies on Friday, becoming the first of the big leaders to stop by these constituencies. Soon after Modi, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief, Akhilesh Yadav will hold a rally on 7 April.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are likely to be in Saharanpur addressing the voters soon thereafter.
Modi’s Friday rallies in these two Muslim stronghold constituencies will set the narrative for the BJP's election campaign in rest of western Uttar Pradesh.
Of the total population in western Uttar Pradesh, 72.29 percent are Hindus and 26.21 percent are Muslims. Although, the Hindus are a majority, the percentage of Muslims in western Uttar Pradesh is higher than that in the entire state.
The significance of Saharanpur and Modi's visit to the constituency cannot be overemphasised. Both Saharanpur and Amroha elected BJP candidates in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections despite the region being dominated by the minority community. It's not a surprise then, that Modi is making a stop in this area to ensure that the BJP's seats from these constituencies remain secure even in the 2019 elections.
Deoband, one of the five Assembly segments in Saharanpur Lok Sabha constituency, is a centre of Islamic seminaries and exercises strong influence on the minority voters of this region.
For these very reasons, the seats assume significance for the Congress and SP-BSP as well.
The stakes are the highest for the BJP, which holds the seats right now. Modi's rally in Saharanpur is being seen as his call to the entire region to vote for the BJP in the forthcoming election.
Incidentally, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath had also begun his poll campaign from Saharanpur on 24 March.
The other reason this constituency is in limelight is because Uttar Pradesh Congress vice president and former MLA, Imran Masood, is the party’s candidate for Saharanpur Lok Sabha seat. He came to limelight after a video clip surfaced in March 2014 in which Masood was seen threatening to chop the then prime-ministerial candidate of the BJP, Narendra Modi to pieces.
He is also a relative of former Lok Sabha MP from Saharanpur and former Rajya Sabha member, Rashid Masood, who was the UPA candidate for the post of Vice President of India.
Despite having lost the last Lok Sabha election in 2014 and the Assembly polls in 2017, Imran remains a strong candidate in the Muslim stronghold, as the minority community is likely to vote en block for him.
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Updated Date: Apr 05, 2019 10:26:47 IST