Polarisation Palpable in Bijnor Seats
Communal tension flared up again when 17-year old Vishal was murdered on Friday BSP Main Rival in 1st Two Rounds, SP in Rest: Shah
Bijnor: Communal polarisation is palpable in Bijnor assembly constituency, where the Hindu-Muslim riots that claimed the lives of three men from the minority community in September last year continue to form the backdrop of almost every public debate. Bijnor has been a BSP stronghold, with four of the eight assembly seats in the district going to Mayawati’spartyin2012.SPcouldwin only two but wrested Bijnor city seat from BJP in the bypoll held after the 2014 polls. Two of the eight seats, Nagina and Nehtaur, are reserved.
Polling in Bijnor district will be held on February 15. As part of her overtures to the Muslims, Mayawati has fielded 97 candidates from the minority community. In Bijnor, barring the tworeservedseats,allBSPcandidates are Muslims. SP has fielded four Muslims, giving hope to BJP that the minority votes will get divided.
On September 16, 2016, a clash had broken out between groups of HindusandMuslimsinPedhavillage in Bijnor. Three Muslims were killed when some men allegedly associated with RSS opened fire. More than two dozen men allegedly involved in the case are still in jail. RSS member and advocate Aishwarya Chaudhary is one of them. BJP has given the ticket to his wife Suchi Chaudhary. Her main opponent is said to be Rashid Ahmedof BSPwhileSP’sRuchiVira, thesittingMLA,isastrongcontender too. RLD has fielded Rahul Singh.
Suchi’s father Sunil, a senior RSS leader in Bijnor, is running her campaign. “False cases were filed against these 27 men in the September violence. Many of those chargesheeted had reached the spot after the violence was over. In some cases, more than one member of a family has been jailed. No Muslims were arrested,” Sunil Chaudhary told ET. Communal tension flared up again when 17-year old Vishal was murdered on Friday, allegedly by a group of local Muslims. This has led to further polarisation in the run-up to the polling day. BJP is hopeful the Jat voters as well as MBCs — Saini and Pal —and nonJatav Dalits from Kashyap, Dhobi, Prajapati, Valmiki and Bhuiyar (weavers) communities will vote for it. BSP is banking on polarisation of votes, with Muslims and Jatavs said to be voting for Ahmed.
Sitting MLA Ruchi Vira, who runs educational institutions in the area, is said to be facing some anti-incumbency. “Vira won the bypoll as the whole administration of the SP government aided her. All efforts were madetodefeatHPSingh,theBJPcandidate,” said Mayank, an RSS worker. The communal overtones here
BJP chief Amit Shah has said BSP is the main rival in first two phases of UP assembly polls and SP in the rest, as he accused Akhilesh Yadav of getting into an “unholy alliance”. “ may spill over to the other seven assembly seats in the district — Najibabad, Barhapur, Dhampur, Chandpur, Noorpur, Nagina (SC) and Nehtaur (SC). SP had won Nagina and Dhampur in 2012. BJP has fielded Kamlesh Saini in Chandpur against Mohammad Iqbal of BSP, the sitting MLA. Iqbal, a local strongman who is said to be involved in sand mining, had won this seat in 2007 and 2012. Ashok Rana, who defected from BSP, is the BJP candidate in Dhampur. He is fighting against Mohammad Ghazi of BSP while Moolchand Chauhan, environment minister in Akhilesh government, is the SP candidate. Om Kumar, BJP candidate in Nehtaur (SC) had won this seat on an SP ticket in 2012.