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In Amroha, It Is Advantage Mahagathbandhan

Amroha goes to polls on Thursday (April 18) in the second phase of Lok Sabha elections.

Amroha (UP): The electoral battle in Amroha is raging over the “outsider” tag with key contenders — BJP’s sitting MP Kanwar Singh Tanwar and BSP’s Danish Ali — accusing each other of being oblivious to local issues and concerns.

The last time a sitting MP retained the Amroha seat was in 1980 when Chandrapal Singh won his second straight election from here.

Barring that election, voters in Amroha are known to choose new candidates ever since Congress veteran Maulana Hifzur Rahman scored a hat-trick of wins in the 1950s and 60s.

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So, Tanwar has an uphill task with history and numbers stacked against him as he takes on BSP-SP-RLD mahagathbandhan candidate Ali and the Congress’s Sachin Chaudhary.

Ali, who was general secretary of the Janata Dal (Secular), quit that party and joined the Bahujan Samaj Party just ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

Muslims constitute a substantial chunk of the population. Dalits also are in sizeable numbers, especially in rural areas. Both Muslims and the Dalits appear to be backing the gathbandhan, but the fear of vote division is also lurking.

In this election, the “outsider” tag has become a major issue.

“I am not an outsider. I am a part of this constituency. This is false information being spread by the BJP. There are four segments under the constituency and I am from the Garhmukteshwar segment,” Ali told PTI.

“It (the outsider issue) is propaganda and the BJP is a master at propaganda,” he said, adding that Amroha is my birthplace and also my “karmabhoomi”.

Ali alleged that Tanwar was an outsider who was not even from Uttar Pradesh, but Haryana.

Tanwar hit back at Ali saying it is he who is an outsider and does not live here.

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“My family, my children are here. I have a house here, I have land here. I have been living here since 2011. So, how am I an outsider here,” Tanwar asked.

“He (Ali) has been living in Bengaluru. His children study there. He is running his campaign out of a hotel. He doesn’t even have a rented house here,” he claimed.

Tanwar is hoping to cash in on the goodwill Prime Minister Narendra Modi has here with several people backing him to get a second term.

“There is a wave for Prime Minister Modi especially in the villages. Can’t say about the city. Modi should get a second term,” Manoj Kumar, a first time voter, said.

Another resident Hakim Sabahat Ullah, however, said the ‘gathbandhan’ will win hands down as the Muslims and Dalits are together this time.

Amroha has about 16 lakh voters with Muslims, Jats and Dalits forming a large chunk of the population.

It was way back in 1980 that incumbent MP Chandrapal Singh was re-elected. However, he won in 1977 on a Bharatiya Lok Dal party ticket, while in 1980, he was victorious on a Janata Party (Secular) ticket.

Tanwar, however, expressed confidence that he will break the jinx and win from here for a second straight time.

The BSP last won the seat in 1999 when Rashid Alvi was victorious on a Bahujan Samaj Party ticket. In the 2004 elections, Independent candidate Harish Nagpal won the seat. while in the 2009 elections, Devendra Nagpal of the Rashtriya Lok Dal registered a victory.

Amroha goes to polls on Thursday in the second phase of Lok Sabha elections.

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