Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath conducted a door-to-door campaign in Sahibabad assembly constituency and on Sunday held two indoor meetings with eminent persons as part of the campaign of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the first phase of the UP assembly elections scheduled for February 10.
While UP Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Dinesh Sharma was campaigning in neighboring Greater Noida, Adityanath himself led the campaign in the two key assembly seats of Sahibabad and Ghaziabad.
The seat of Sahibabad has 10,12,154 eligible voters while the assembly constituency of Ghaziabad has 4,69,505 voters according to the latest voter rolls.
The BJP has lined up its five incumbent MPs from each of Ghaziabad’s five seats. From Sahibabad, the party fielded Sunil Sharma, who receives a ticket for the fourth consecutive time while UP (Health) Minister Atul Garg will contest his second consecutive election (third overall) from the seat of Ghaziabad.
Sources within the party said there was dissent among BJP workers and some of its leaders because the tickets were for sitting MPs. In several cases, some of those who oppose ticket distribution have applied as independents, while some have also joined opposition parties and won a ticket, as in the case of KK Shukla, contesting the Ghaziabad siege on a ticket donated by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Adityanath, who is also the star activist of BJP, chose Sanjay Colony in Sahibabad and a slum in Vijay Nagar to mobilize support for his party. There was a heavy rush to the settlement of Rajiv with hundreds of locals arriving to catch a glimpse of the Chief Minister, who arrived with MP for Ghaziabad and Union Minister General VK Singh (retired ). People showered flower petals on Adityanath and handed him memoranda, telling him of their concerns.
“There was a huge rally as Adityanath came on foot for the door-to-door campaign and the women wished him luck while sprinkling flower petals. Our locality has a dominant population of Valmikis and comprises about 20,000 voices who fall under the seat of Sahibabad,” said Tilak Ram, a delighted local after the Chief Minister’s visit to his home.
In Sahibabad, BJP’s Sunil Sharma faces his rival Amarpal Sharma who is contesting this time over the SP ticket and also against debutant Sangeeta Tyagi of Congress, Chhavi Yadav of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Ajit Kumar Pal of BSP.
At the Ghaziabad headquarters, UP Minister Atul Garg faces KK Shukla of BSP, Vishal Verma of SP, Sushant Goyal of Congress and Lalit Yadav of AAP as the main opponents.
BJP leaders denied that the dissent would impact the ruling party’s election campaign. “There is no dissent in the party and in the next few days you will see some people withdrawing their candidacies. Their issues have been addressed and discussed. Adityanath himself holding two meetings and door-to-door campaigns door in Ghaziabad shows the importance of the district for the party. His visit will inject a lot of energy among the party cadres,” said Sanjeev Sharma, chairman of the municipal unit of the BJP.
Political experts said Adityanath organizing a series of election campaigns and meetings in a single day in Ghaziabad was of significance. “Speeches delivered in key regions such as Mathura, Varanasi, Gorakhpur and western UP are of great significance and have statewide impact. His visit is significant as Ghaziabad district has five seats at stake for the party,” said Dr. Virendra Singh, Associate Professor (Political Science) at MMH College, Ghaziabad.
On Saturday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah campaigned in Kairana, Shamli district in western UP and addressed small groups and also participated to a door-to-door campaign.
“Door-to-door campaigns are the best way to meet voters and get their support. This recent practice has reduced significantly unlike how it happened in previous elections. It is one of the best forms of campaigning, which has a direct impact on voters. This will be helpful as rallies and roadshows have been banned for the time being due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said KK Sharma, Associate Professor (History) at MM College, Modinagar.