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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: On campaign trail, BJP Lakhimpur candidate Ajay Mishra speaks of Viksit Bharat, little of 2021 violence

Hardly a week before the constituency goes to poll in the fourth round of the ongoing Lok Sabha election on May 13, Mishra, who is addressed as 'Teni Maharaj' by his supporters, keeps his speeches small, limits himself to the stage, avoids going among the people, folds his hands before local party workers and rarely offers to shake hands.
Last Updated : 11 May 2024, 03:51 IST
Last Updated : 11 May 2024, 03:51 IST

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Lakhimpur: On his campaign trail seeking a third term as MP from Kheri, Union Minister of State Ajay Mishra keeps to small meetings across the constituency where he talks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of 'Viksit Bharat' and promises to change the 'fate of the this place'.

The BJP leader, whose son Ashish Mishra was arrested in connection with the killing of four farmers protesting against the now-scrapped farm laws in Lakhimpur Kheri in October 2021, is rarely seen taking questions. There are often no reference to the incident or his son in any of the meetings as his team ensures a distance between Mishra and reporters.

Addressing five small meetings daily on an average, Ajay Mishra sticks to the issue of neglect the constituency faced before Modi came to power.

"Kheri had been neglected by all parties. Nobody did anything for this place. From farmers to traders, everyone was neglected," Mishra said at one such small gathering of around 150 people at a crossing in the Palia area here.

"But things under Prime Minister Modi have changed across the country and here too. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is working towards his target of Viksit Bharat by 2047. We all must ensure to add in our efforts for the same," he added.

Hardly a week before the constituency goes to poll in the fourth round of the ongoing Lok Sabha election on May 13, Mishra, who is addressed as 'Teni Maharaj' by his supporters, keeps his speeches small, limits himself to the stage, avoids going among the people, folds his hands before local party workers and rarely offers to shake hands.

'You know the reality of the people of the INDI alliance. They have done nothing for the people except for confusing them. We have just one aim, that is of making India a superpower. And if India develops, how can Lakhimpur be left behind,' the BJP leader said at another meeting on his campaign trail.

Mishra avoids the media and moves ahead without taking any questions and his team ensures a distance between him and reporters.

When asked about the issues in Lakhimpur Kheri for this election, he told PTI, 'I am busy with the elections these days,' and hopped in his vehicle as the motorcade sped ahead for another meeting.

Mishra was elected as the MP from Lakhimpur Kheri in 2014 when the 'Modi wave' swept the country. He repeated his victory in the 2019 general election. Known to be close to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, he was made the minister of state for home affairs in July 2021.

Just months later, in October of 2021, Mishra faced the biggest challenge of his political career when his son Ashish Mishra was accused of killing four Sikh farmers protesting against the now-scrapped farm laws by running them over and arrested.

Despite criticism and the arrest of his son, he retained his position as Union minister. Ashish Mishra is currently out on bail.

Mishra and his team also avoid meetings in areas or villages dominated by the Sikh community.

'Many challenges have come before us but with your strength, I have countered them all. I am thankful for your support and I am assuring you that if you continue your support, I will change the fate of this place,' Mishra said in a similar meeting held in Lakhimpur.

Those attending these meetings are mostly men. At some places, a few women also join the meetings but sit at the back. People attending these meetings rarely ask questions.

Dinesh Mishra, 22, a graduate who attended one of Mishra's meetings, said, 'People say that we have progressed in the world but this development has not yet reached our villages.'

Kamal Kumar Gupta, a local grain trader, who also attended one of Mishra's meeting said, "It is true that not much has been done here but what options do we have. The opposition will bring back the 'Goonda Raj' on coming back to power."

Villagers also raise issue of the lack of better health facilities, damaged roads and limited job opportunities.

"My son is preparing for competitive exams in Lucknow for the last four years but he has not been able to get a government job yet. He also appeared in the UP police recruitment exam but the paper was leaked. We are poor farmers and find it very difficult to afford his education," said Arvind Nath Singh of Udaipur village.

Asked why he attended Mishra's meeting, Singh said, 'I just came to listen to him. I know politicians will not do anything for poor people like us.' Ajay Mishra is contesting against Utkarsh Verma of the Samajwadi Party and Anshay Kalra of the BSP.

Polling in Lakhimpur Kheri, which has over 18.6 lakh voters, will be in the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha election on May 13.

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Published 11 May 2024, 03:51 IST

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