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They are not contesting but their shadow looms large over voters


Lucknow, May 20
They are not contesting the Lok Sabha elections but their shadow looms large over the regions where they wield influence.

An example of this is former minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh a.k.a. Raja Bhaiya.

Raja Bhaiya heads the Jansatta Dal but his party is not contesting the ongoing elections.

“We are not contesting because we could not work out an alliance,” he said.

Recently, the BJP and Samajwadi Party had been reaching out to Raja Bhaiya for his support and he even had a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Bengaluru recently.

Everyone waited with bated breath for him to announce his decision, because Raja Bhaiya enjoys considerable support in Kunda and Babaganj Assembly seats in Kaushambhi Lok Sabha segment.

However, Raja Bhaiya convened a meeting of his supporters and told them to cast their votes wherever they preferred.

As a result, his supporters have fanned out in Pratapgarh and Kaushambhi Lok Sabha segments, wearing Jansatta Dal (yellow and green) ‘gamchas’ and are supporting the SP candidates.

When asked, Raja Bhaiya said, “I have not asked them to vote for any specific party. It is now their choice because my party is not contesting the polls.”

However, he admitted that he has ironed out past differences with SP President Akhilesh Yadav.

In Kaiserganj, the BJP may have denied the ticket to six-time MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and replaced him with his son Karan Bhushan Singh, but the influence of senior Singh is palpable from the moment one steps into his constituency.

Now known as ‘Bade Thakur Saheb’, it is Brij Bhushan’s ‘power’ that is guiding son Karan’s campaign. His influence extends to about half a dozen seats around his own Kaiserganj constituency and even his arch- rivals admit to this.

Though Brij Bhushan denies supervising his son’s campaign, he admits that he will guide him if the need arises.

Mukhtar Ansari may be dead but his presence is still felt in his family constituency Ghazipur, where his elder brother Afzal Ansari is a SP candidate.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also kept Mukhtar ‘alive’ in his campaign since he cites the mafia’s example to prove how he eliminated such elements.

Talking about it, Afzal Ansari said, “Mukhtar lives in the hearts of the people here. He may not be with us but his spirit is all over.”

In Jaunpur, former MP Dhananjay Singh could not contest the elections because he was sent to jail in an old case in March and his wife Sreekala Reddy Singh’s ticket was also withdrawn at the last moment by Bahujan Samaj Party.

Dhananjay Singh, out on bail after his conviction, announced his support for the BJP in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls but his supporters are still divided.

Dhananjay Singh enjoys considerable ground support in Jaunpur and his role as a kingmaker is crucial to decide the winner.

“What he (Dhananjay) said was obviously under pressure. We will wait for him to speak out,” said Ritesh Singh, a supporter.

In Domariyaganj, the Samajwadi candidate is Kushal Tiwari, son of mafia don, late Hari Shankar Tiwari. Though Hari Shankar Tiwari died last year, his influence among his own community is very strong in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Kushal Tiwari’s campaigners admit that the deceased leader’s goodwill is helping his son immensely in the elections.

“Babuji (Hari Shankar Tiwari), is no longer here but his aashirwaad is definitely with us,” said a supporter.