Jitin Prasada banks on father's legacy

Jitin Prasada banks on father's legacy
Sixty-year-old Rizvan, who sells fruit at the crowded market in Tilhar, an Assembly constituency in Shahjahanpur district, turns nostalgic as he remembers the late Jitendra Prasada, who once unsuccessfully contested against Sonia Gandhi for the post of Congress president.

“Baba Saheb (as Jitendra Prasada was popularly known) had done a lot for the people of the district,” Rizvan says. Jitendra Prasada represented Shahjahanpur in the Lok Sabha twice. Jitendra Prasada’s son and former Union minister Jitin Prasada, who is in the fray from this Assembly constituency on Congress ticket, is likely to benefit from this kind of nostalgia when polling is held here on Wednesday.

The popular refrain in Tilhar, a town about 200 km from the state capital of Lucknow, is that but for Jitin’s entry, the BJP had an advantage. “With Jitin in the fray, the equation has gone awry,” says resident Kailash Verma as he sips tea at a roadside stall.

Political analyst B Verma, who hails from the district, also says that Baba Saheb’s legacy may put Jitin in an advantageous position over his rivals.

Even to Jitin’s rivals, his entry came as a surprise. Congress sources here said that Jitin, who won the Dhaurahra Lok Sabha seat in 2009 but lost in 2014, was reluctant to contest the Assembly polls. But he later took the plunge on the directions of the party leadership. Many people in the constituency feel that Jitin may get an important post if the Congress-Samajwadi Party alliance forms the next government in the state.

Jitin also got a boost when caste-based outfit Mahan Dal announced its support for him. “We feel that he will bring development to the area,” says Mahan Dal youth wing president Kishan Maurya.

Roshan Lal, the BJP candidate from here, is not very popular among his party workers.

Lal, who won here on a Bahujan Samaj Party ticket in the 2012 Assembly polls, switched loyalty to the BJP a few days ago and was declared the party nominee.
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