Poll fever high in Union Territories

Poll fever high in Union Territories

Voters in Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu to exercise franchise today

Poll fever high in Union Territories

They may not be high profile constituencies that don’t share the glamour of other Union Territories like Chandigarh and Lakshadweep and journalists seldom visit these places during elections, but the poll fever is at its zenith in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu where polling will be held on Wednesday. 

Among the 15 candidates in these constituencies is an illiterate woman, cash-rich businessmen and farmers. Most of the candidates do not have an email or social media presence while some candidates have lakhs in cash in their possession, their affidavits say.

But like anywhere else, the opponents are finding fault with the sitting MPs, both from BJP, for “doing nothing”. Smaller parties and independents are also crying foul about “big parties” distributing money among voters. 

“I am afraid of these two nights (Monday and Tuesday). On Monday night, I informed election officials about distribution of money. They could not catch them. Tonight also, there will be attempts to distribute money,” Bhavesh Patel, BSP candidate in Daman and Diu, told Deccan Herald over phone.

In Daman and Diu, BJP’s Lalubhai Babubhai Patel is confident of winning a second term while his Congress rival Ketanbhai Patel, a young builder with a diploma in textile technology, is sure of upstaging the sitting MP. “I have done my job well and will continue to do,” said Lalubhai. 

However, the Congress and the BSP nominees discount this. “There is anti-incumbency. He has done nothing. People are annoyed with him. I am 500 per cent confident of winning,” Ketanbhai said. Bhavesh, who pins hope on a number of migrant labourers from UP and Bihar with voting rights, says the Congress and the BJP did nothing.

While Congress and BJP are raising development and employment generation as major issues, Bhavesh, who has a diploma in civil engineering, points to pollution due to unchecked development activities. “The poor has no place here,” he laments.

Interestingly, except twice, the sitting MPs had lost in the constituency, the second smallest constituency in terms of voters. Congress had won four times, BJP three times and an independent once since 1987 when the constituency was formed.

In Dadra and Nagar Haveli, the fight is between BJP MP Nathubhai G Patel and Congress’s Mohanbhai Delkar, who won six times in a row from 1989 representing Congress, BJP and BNP. Nathubai humbled Delkar last time by 618 votes but the former is confident. “Congress is winning. No doubt about it,” Delkar, a graduate, said. 

Dadra constituency is said to be a pocket borough of Delkar. “Delkar’s Robin Hood image has made him dear among tribals who en masse vote for him,” a book “India Votes: Lok Sabha & Vidhan Sabha Elections 2001-2005” has said. 

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