Popular Nagma may lose charm in Meerut

If one goes by the crowds at meetings, both in urban and rural areas, of actor-turned-politician Nagma, contesting on a Congress ticket, one would expect her to win hands down in this Lok Sabha constituency.

The actor is virtually mobbed wherever she goes for campaigning, and on many occasions has had to leave either midway or without even addressing the gathering. Such is the craze that on a few occasions she has had to be rescued from mobs by her private security guards and bouncers.

Nagma has succeeded in “charming” the electorate, especially youths, but whether it can counter “Modi magic” and translate into votes for her remains questionable.

“Nagma is drawing crowds, but a majority of them are simply there to see her. They are not going to vote for her,” said Prabhat Singh, a faculty at the department of journalism in Meerut College.

Singh said development was the key issue in this constituency. “People will vote for the candidate who they think will work for the area,” he added.

Kamal Kapur, who runs a studio on Kutchery Road in the town, concurred. “Caste and communal equations may not work this time,” the 29-year-old told Deccan Herald.

Kapur is sore with peoples' representatives not paying attention to the problems faced by residents of the city. “There are around 30 nullahs in this city, all of them open. The work of covering them had started a few years ago, but stopped after inauguration,” he said. BJP candidate and sitting MP Rajendra Agarwal appears to be confident of victory riding the “Modi wave”. “The electorate wants Modi this time. I have no competition,” he has said. Betel-shop-owner Jagadish Prasad echoed similar sentiment. “The BJP is way ahead of its rivals,” he said.

Samajwadi Party (SP) nominee and UP minister Shahid Manzoor has also expressed confidence about his win, a sizeable number of Muslim voters apparently being the reason.

But the Muslims here seem divided. While some are solidly behind the SP, others say they will support the Congress. Since the BSP nominee is also a Muslim, he too might corner some votes.

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