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High-stakes battle: Will Modi magic work in Uttar Pradesh?

High-stakes battle: Will Modi magic work in Uttar Pradesh?
Among all the 403 Assembly sections, poll campaigning of BJP in Varanasi has been established as most as the war room, led by party's national president Amit Shah, who is known for his election engineering, crafted in such scrupulous strategy with PM's visit. Also, that is the way once again BJP banked on Modi's popularity.

Varanasi, the religious city is not only major economic hub of the most populous state but also significant for having multi-layered voters. BJP is believed to be a party of upper caste - Brahmin, Rajput, Baniya - people who no matter what largely vote for the party. Interestingly, Varanasi has 60per cent Hindu population and the rest are Muslims.

So, we tried to reach both rural and urban areas of Varanasi but only witnessed that the immaculate highways wrapped up the conked out roads of villages. Thus, from Nishads (OBC) to Muslims, from Baniyas and Brahmins to Yadavs (OBC), all welcomed Modi not only as PM but also as MP of Varanasi with his 'Vikas' mantra.

However, some consider this strong campaign by all the Union Ministers and party top brass as the party's failure to combat Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. They also asserted that if could have been done before the campaign.

At the same time, the Yadavs who run the largest medical wholesale market feel that the decision of ticket distribution in south Varanasi could be a risk factor for BJP. A certain Rinku Yadav, said, "Shyamdev Roy Chowdhury was the leader for 35 years. He worked for all, irrespective caste and creed."

On the contrary, while speaking to the upper caste voters of north and cantonment areas they asserted that whosoever comes as the BJP face, they will only vote for 'Lotus'.

The Baniyas, who are the base voters of BJP, feel that though 'demonetisation' affected them but it was for a short period. But, they also feel that Akhilesh Yadav has performed well.

Now the Brahmins and to retain its core vote bank, BJP also organised Brahmin Sammelan in different parts of the state and the city, with the support of RSS and VHP.

Not only upper caste, we also spoke to Nishad, traditional occupations centered on rivers who feel that in the span of two and half years' it is very difficult to rate a Prime Minister. Madanlal Nishad, a helmsman said, "For daughter's marriage it takes a year to prepare then why it is not applicable to our PM's effort to reform the system?"

Following the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections and campaigns of all parties, all eyes are set on results to be declared on March 11. All are excited to see which one wins, Modi's development mantra or Samajwadi Party-Congress' grand alliance. But poll pundis feel that till Monday, Modi held 24 rallies which are still untouched to his best of Bihar Assembly. "From lessons learned in Bihar debacle, this time Shah, preferred internal survey rather PR organizations" said party source.
Simontini Bhattacharjee

Simontini Bhattacharjee

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