Candidate’s caste, not conduct is what matters in Uttar Pradesh

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 16, 2019

Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan at an election rally. (file photo)

BJP fields Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishen from Gorakhpur seat to placate the Brahmins

The BJP’s denial of a ticket to an MP in Uttar Pradesh, for publicly beating up his colleague, is related less to the Election Commission’s crackdown on a series of misdemeanours by candidates/parties during campaigning and more to political expediency and caste alignments.

In the list of candidates announced by the ruling party on Monday, Praveen Nishad, the sitting MP from the prestigious Gorakhpur Lok Sabha constituency, who defected from the Samajwadi Party (SP) recently and joined the BJP, was relocated to the neighbouring Sant Kabir Nagar constituency.

In Sant Kabir Nagar, the sitting MP Sharad Tripathi, who was recently seen beating up local BJP MLA with shoes in a video, was dropped.

In Tripathi’s stead, the BJP fielded Praveen Nishad. Nishad recently defected from the SP and joined the BJP along with his father Sanjay Nishad. Sanjay Nishad, who is the founder of a political grouping of the boatmen caste called the Nishad Party, had aligned his party with the BJP in this election.

Read More: Lok Sabha election 2019- BJP names 7 candidates for Uttar Pradesh

However, the BJP did not field Praveen Nishad from Gorakhpur. The party put up Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishen from Gorakhpur.

Gorakhpur was vacated by Yogi Adityanath when he became Chief Minister of UP in 2017. In the by-poll held last year, the BJP suffered a shock defeat in the hands of Praveen Nishad, the seat of the Gorakhnath Math which has been held by the BJP/Jan Sangh and its various affiliates over the last 50 years.

A major reason for the BJP’s defeat in the 2018 by-poll is believed to be the support of the boatmen community, which forms a sizeable chunk of the electorate in Gorakhpur, to Praveen Nishad. But since Praveen Nishad joined the BJP, the SP chief Akhilesh Yadav acted swiftly and named two-term SP MLA from Gorakhpur (Rural) Ram Bhuwal Nishad as the Mahagathbandhan candidate from the seat.

Praveen Nishad has been accommodated in Sant Kabir Nagar from where Sharad Tripathi, the sitting MP who is a Brahmin, has been dropped.

To keep the upper caste community in good humour, especially after the denial of party ticket to two big leaders — Murli Manohar Joshi and Kalraj Mishra — the BJP has fielded Ravi Kishen who is a Brahmin born in Jaunpur, eastern UP.

Brahmins account for about 13 per cent of the electorate in UP and are particularly important in eastern UP where their numbers are significant.


For the latest on elections, click: Elections 2019

Published on April 15, 2019

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