Caste in play as SP tries to hold on to Allahabad seat

It is set to be a case of caste equations and old loyalties to the fore in the contest for the Allahabad Lok Sabha constituency as BJP and BSP look to wrestle the seat from the ruling SP in Uttar Pradesh.

Samajwadi Party has made clear its intention to retain the seat by fielding sitting MP Kunwar Rewati Raman Singh. But looking for a change of luck here, Bahujan Samaj Party, the runners-up in the previous polls, has expelled its 2009 Brahmin nominee and gone with an OBC woman candidate for 2014.

BJP springs surprise

And, with its aim set on outsmarting both SP and BSP, BJP has sprung a surprise by fielding a former SP leader and businessman as its contestant for the seat.

Businessman-cum-politician Shyama Charan Gupta, the BJP’s candidate for the Allahabad seat, had left the saffron outfit to spend years with SP, including as an MP from the party from Banda. 

However, after being denied a ticket this time by SP, he joined BJP and was promptly given the Allahabad ticket.

The move by the saffron outfit, however, has sorely disappointed senior BJP leader and former Assembly Speaker Keshri Nath Tripathi as he was aspiring for a BJP ticket.

Dalit support

BSP has put its trust in former Zila Panchayat president Keshri Devi Patel, who is expected to bring a chunk of OBC votes to the party’s assured kitty of Dalit support. But SP would be counting on two-time MP Rewati Raman to deliver the seat.

 Rewati Raman had made his Lok Sabha debut in 2004 by pulling off a stunning victory against three-time BJP MP Murli Manohar Joshi. 

The Congress, which has never won the seat after 1984 when actor Amitabh Bachchan trounced political heavyweight Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna to clinch the contest by the highest-ever margin of about two lakh votes, has handed the ticket to Nand Gopal Gupta ‘Nandu’, a former minister in the former Mayawati government who joined the party last week.

In the last general elections, when the party appeared to have made a comeback in UP by winning 21 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state, the Congress candidate here finished fourth after polling less than 10 per cent of the votes.

Game changer

Although Aam Aadmi Party may queer the pitch here for the several players locked in a multi-cornered contest, it is yet to formally announce its candidate for the seat. The buzz, however, is that AAP founder-member Prashant Bhushan, who has his roots in the city, may try his luck from the historic constituency.

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