20 first-time candidates in Purvanchal region

| | Lucknow
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20 first-time candidates in Purvanchal region

Thursday, 23 May 2024 | Biswajeet Banerjee | Lucknow

Purvanchal, or eastern Uttar Pradesh, has long been a crucible of political thought and innovation, often serving as the launching pad for new political talents. This election season is no exception, with approximately 20 first-time candidates contesting the Lok Sabha elections in this key region.

Leading the charge is the Bahujan Samaj Party, which has introduced fresh faces in 11 out of the 13 Lok Sabha constituencies in Purvanchal. The BSP’s strategy is deeply rooted in caste dynamics, aiming to maximise their appeal across different voter groups. For instance, in Azamgarh, the BSP has fielded Bhim Rajbhar to attract the significant Rajbhar voter base. The Bharatiya Janata Party, in alliance with the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party, could see a split in these votes due to Rajbhar’s candidacy. Other notable BSP candidates include Umesh Singh in Ghazipur, Satyendra Maurya in Chandauli, and young Manish Tripathi in Mirzapur.

Additionally, the BSP has chosen Dr Indu Chaudhary from Banaras Hindu University for the Lalganj Lok Sabha seat and advocate Dhaneshwar Gautam for the Robertsganj seat. Both are contesting their first elections. In Ballia, Lallan Yadav will face BJP’s Neeraj Shekhar, son of former prime minister Chandrasekhar.

The BSP has also fielded Irfan Ahmad from Bhadohi and former IAS officer Kripashankar Saroj from Machhlishahr. In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, Varanasi, the BSP has fielded Athar Jamal Lari.

The ruling BJP has introduced newcomers in four of the 13 constituencies, while the Samajwadi Party has fielded three first-time candidates.

Among the notable contestants, the BJP has fielded Parasnath Rai, a teacher, against SP’s Afzal Ansari in the key Ghazipur parliamentary seat. Rai is close to Lt Governor of J&K Manoj Sinha, who won elections here twice but lost to Afzal Ansari in 2019.

In Jaunpur, a Rajput-dominated constituency, the BJP has fielded Kripashankar Singh, a former president of Maharashtra Congress and minister of state for home in Maharashtra, marking his debut in the Lok Sabha elections. Additionally, Dr Vinod Bind, a doctor from Chandauli, will contest from the Bhadohi constituency for the BJP. The SBSP, an ally of the BJP, has fielded Arvind Rajbhar from the Ghosi constituency. He is another first-time candidate.

The SP’s new faces include former state minister Virendra Singh from Chandauli parliamentary seat. Singh, originally from Varanasi, is contesting his first Lok Sabha election. In the reserved Machhlishahr seat, the SP has chosen Priya Saroj, an advocate and the daughter of senior SP leader Toofani Saroj.

The INDIA Bloc has fielded Ujjawal Raman Singh from Allahabad. Although Singh has won two assembly elections from Karchhana on a SP ticket, this is his first Lok Sabha election. He will face another new entrant in politics, Neeraj Tripathi, son of former governor Keshari Nath Tripathi.

“With their bold move to field new faces, all the political parties aim to bring fresh perspectives and energy to the Lok Sabha, challenging the established order and potentially reshaping the political landscape in Purvanchal,” said Rajesh N. Bajpayee, a political analyst.

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