Jaya Prada set for a hat trick

Jaya Prada set for a hat trick

Arshad Ali, a resident of Mawana, was yet to take his pick from the candidates contesting the Lok Sabha election from Bijnore seat, until film actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada’s candidature was announced.

Jaya’s charm appears to have broken through the caste equations in the constituency forcing her rivals to formulate their electoral strategies afresh, though there is very little time. The constituency goes to polls on April 10.

Jaya, who recently joined the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), along with Amar Singh, and was promptly declared a nominee from Bijnore replacing its sitting MP Sanjay Chauhan, had represented Rampur Lok Sabha seat in 2009 and 2004.

Then in the Samajwadi Party (SP), she had defeated Congress' nominee Noor Bano on both occasions.

The situation has changed this time. Now she is an RLD nominee, which has an electoral alliance with the Congress in Uttar Pradesh.

Though Rampur is over 100 km from here, Jaya has been able to make an impact over the electorate-young and old alike. Her meetings have been drawing good crowds even in the rural areas.

Local RLD leaders said that the party had been looking for a candidate who could succeed in enthusing the workers. “Jaya Prada’s candidature has infused new energy among RLD workers,” said Anil Chaudhary, an RLD officer bearer in Bijnore.

RLD, which was worried over alienation of the “Jat” votes following last year’s communal riots in the neighbouring Muzaffarnagar district, is now “almost certain” of a victory here.
Jaya’s task has been made easier by the open resentment among BJP leaders over candidate selection for the constituency.

The BJP had first fielded Rajendra Singh from here and later following large scale protests, the party replaced him with riot accused local MLA Kunwar Bhartendu. Now Rajendra’s supporters have turned against the official nominee.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has fielded Dr Gaurav Chauhan, is likely to cut into the BJP votes as well, according to the locals.

There are around 50,000 voters from “Chauhan” community and any division in their votes would only hurt the saffron party, they said.