Millennium Post

First phase LS polling: GB Nagar,Ghaziabad to vote today

GB Nagar/Ghaziabad: With the first phase of voting for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections scheduled today, the stage is set for citizens of Gautam Buddh Nagar and Ghaziabad constituencies, who will be voting for candidates contesting in two of the major cities in the National Capital Region. The fight in both the Lok Sabha seats will be ones to look out for given what the Bharatiya Janata Party has to lose if the grand alliance of Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party, and Rashtriya Lok Dal swoops in. Both Ghaziabad and GB Nagar seats are currently held by V K Singh and Mahesh Sharma respectively, both Union Ministers in the Narendra Modi Government, who won by large margins (Singh by more than 5.5 lakh votes and Sharma by 2.8 lakh votes) in 2014.

Furthermore, making matters more interesting this time around for the high-profile seats in the NCR is that BSP, SP, and RLD have formed an alliance. As a result, it is likely that four of the most populous voting communities in GB Nagar comprising of Dalits, Muslims, Yadavs, and Gujjars will vote for the opposition alliance. BSP has fielded Satbir Nagar from GB Nagar against BJP's Sharma and Congress' Arvind Singh Chauhan.

As a result, Sharma who was riding high on the "Modi wave" in 2014, like many other of his party colleagues, might have to focus on how to get the requisite votes to secure their seats. In the last elections, Sharma banked on the Brahmin-Thakur vote in the region along with Modi's rising popularity to secure his seat. Moreover, working in favour of the alliance is the fact that BSP stalwart Mayawati is from Badalpur village in GB Nagar and has the capability to pull in votes for her candidate there. However, it is interesting to note that last year, BSP's candidate only managed to secure 1.98 lakh votes out of a total voting population of over 22.9 lakh people, while the Congress candidate failed to even make a dent. Also, the fact that more than 3 lakh voters have been added to the roll this year round is something that cannot be discounted.

Now, coming to Ghaziabad, what it is of import is that Congress has fielded Dolly Sharma an MBA graduate against BJP's Singh and alliance-backed Suresh Bansal from SP, in a constituency where last time BJP had overcome several issues to make sure Singh won with a thumping majority of 56 percent of total votes polled.

In 2014, Singh had taken full advantage of the 'Modi wave' and the Brahmin-Vaishya voting population which amounted to about 10 lakh voters out of a total voter roll of 27 lakh citizens. It is no secret that this community has been a traditional supporter of the saffron party.

In addition, Singh had overcome a large 'outsider' sentiment that was prevailing in 2014 owing to the fact that he was from Haryana and

had raked in more than 7.8 lakh votes.

However, with the significant footfall that Ghaziabad saw at Congress UP-East in charge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's roadshow for her party's candidate Dolly Sharma, things might be getting dicey for BJP's Singh.

Added to that is the fact that SP's Bansal is being backed by the seemingly strong alliance, which is very likely to pull in the entirety of Muslim, Yadav, Gujjar, and Scheduled Caste votes amounting to a staggering total of more than 12 lakh voters in a constituency that is going to be highly influenced by caste-based voting.

District Magistrate BN Singh, who is also the District Electoral Officer for GB Nagar said that the constituency is all decked-up for the upcoming polls with all 2,397 polling booths in the constituency ready for citizens to exercise the democratic right. "All the polling booths are ready with concerned officers continuing all verification exercises on ground with full force," he said, speaking to the Millennium Post. In addition, officials have said that polling prepartions in Ghaziabad are also in full swing with polling officers conducting necessary on-ground checks in order to make sure that the constituency sees a smooth polling process in the first phase of the elections.

And so, the curtain rises for fights in two of the most important constituencies in the National Capital Region.

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