The five seats of Mirzapur – Chunar, Mariyan, Mirzapur Nagar, Majhawan and Chhanbey – will vote in the last phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, and are poised for a strong contest between the BJP and the Samajwadi Party.
The BSP and the Congress candidates are working to ensure that the contest is a multi-cornered one.
An anti-incumbency sentiment was evident among several people in the district.
The BJP has repeated its candidates in four seats and has allotted Majhawan to ally NISHAD Party.
Strengthened by ties with regional parties like the Apna Dal (Kamerawadi) and the Suheldev Bharat Samaj Party (SBSP) of Om Prakash Rajbhar, the Akhilesh Yadav-headed SP alliance is making all efforts to take away the advantage the saffron party had in 2017.
Known for its famous Vindhyachal temple, Mirzapur is about 50 kilometres from Varanasi.
Like in Varanasi, where the BJP-led coalition had won all the eight seats in the last elections, the saffron party had swept all five seats in Mirzapur too.
Among various issues, an important one on which many are unhappy with local BJP leaders and the state government is the demolition of over 930 houses as part of the Vindh project on the pattern of the Kashi Vishwanath project.
“Owners of these demolished houses were given below-market rates,” said Shiv Ram Mishra.
Houses of Brahmins and Vaishyas were annexed for widening of roads in and around areas “cleverly” selected to spare those owned by Thakurs, the castemen of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, another person claimed, refusing to identify himself.
Sitting BJP MLA Ratnakar Mishra did not come to the help of the local people “whose interests were sacrificed in the name of the Vindh project,” one person alleged.
Nagar Parishad chairman Manoj Jaiswal, however, said whatever unhappiness people have will end after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally.
“People are no longer prepared to return to the dark days of the SP when hooliganism was at its peak,” he said.
Samajwadi Party workers are confident of winning in Mirzapur as people want to see Akhilesh Yadav as the chief minister again, Gulab Chand Yadav said.
Mushtaq Ahmad and Gobin Ahmad cited the issue of price rise as a big problem and said the SP rule was better.