Cong queers pitch for BJP's V K Singh in Ghaziabad

Cong queers pitch for BJP's V K Singh in Ghaziabad

 Union Minister Gen V K Singh (retd). PTI file photo

However, it is the cosmopolitan population in the fast growing townships of Vaishali, Indirapuram and Vasundhara – comprising mostly migrants from across the country – that hold the key to Ghaziabad Lok Sabha seat from where Union Minister Gen V K Singh (retd) is seeking re-election.

Singh is locked in a triangular contest with Suresh Bansal, the candidate of the SP-RLD-BSP coalition and Congress nominee Dolly Sharma, a young professional with a political lineage.

The 27.26 lakh voters of Ghaziabad are spread across five assembly seats – Sahibabad, Ghaziabad, Modinagar, Muradnagar and Loni – where Muslims, Gujjars, Vaishyas, Brahmins dominate the caste matrix.

However, the two assembly seats – Sahibabad which comprises the new townships and Ghaziabad that covers the old city area – together make up for 51% of the voter base, giving Ghaziabad Lok Sabha seat a distinctly urban imprint.

“We interact with political leaders of all hues, but over the last five years we have found V K Singh to be the most responsive,” D K Mishra, vice president of the Poorvanchal Kalyan Samiti told DH.

Poorvanchalis – who hail from eastern Uttar Pradesh and adjoining Bihar along with people from Uttarakhand form a sizeable voter base in Sahibabad assembly seat.

Singh had won by the second largest margin – 5.67 lakh votes – and defeated Congress candidate Raj Babbar in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

A senior Congress leader said that the party was banking on support from the sizeable Muslim community in the parliamentary constituency as well as Brahmin voters who number around four lakh.

Cong's rural focus

Congress campaign is mainly centred around the rural parts of the constituency in Loni, Muradnagar and Modinagar with Dolly Sharma reaching out to the farmers who are upset with the Modi government's agriculture policies.

AICC General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is scheduled to take out a roadshow in support of Sharma, a young management graduate, on Friday.

Seventy-six-year-old Bansal, who quit the BSP to join the SP, is banking on the support of the Vaishya community, to which he belongs. In addition, he is also known to have a grip on the backward class voters in the region given his years in the BSP.

On the campaign trail, Bansal questions the development claims made by Singh and harps on the difficulties faced by the business community in the aftermath of demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax regime.