A Veteran, An ‘Outsider’, And A Spoiler: Moradabad Set For Three-Way Lok Sabha Battle

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Moradabad is set to vote on April 19. (Image: News18)

Moradabad is set to vote on April 19. (Image: News18)

The Moradabad constituency is witnessing a battle between Samajwadi Party’s Ruchi Veera and Bharatiya Janata Party’s Kunwar Sarvesh Kumar Singh with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) possibly playing spoiler.

The Moradabad Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh is witnessing a battle between Samajwadi Party’s Ruchi Veera and Bharatiya Janata Party’s Kunwar Sarvesh Kumar Singh with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) possibly playing spoiler. Voting for LS polls on the Moradabad seat will take place on April 19 in the first phase of General Elections while the counting of votes will take place on June 4.

The BJP has won Moradabad Lok Sabha seat only once in its history, in 2014, during the Narendra Modi wave. The last time that a saffron flag was on the seat before that was in 1971 when the Bhartiya Jana Sangh won here. The Samajwadi Party citadel this time, however, is threatened by a bitter fight within.

The sitting MP of the Samajwadi Party, Dr ST Hasan, skipped a poll rally of party supremo Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday, a rally which saw Yadav not arriving ultimately due to bad weather. “If Akhilesh had called me, I would have turned up. I am waiting for Azam Khan to come out of jail and tell me why he ensured I do not get the ticket,” Hasan told News18 at his home in Moradabad.

ST Hasan runs a well-known hospital in Moradabad, which also doubles up as his residence. “He was humiliated, first he was given the ticket and he filed the nomination and on the last day of nomination, Ruchi Veera was announced as the official candidate. It was better if Hasan was never given the ticket,” a local Muslim living next to Hasan’s clinic said. Another group of locals here said that Hasan would have ensured a big victory for SP but now people would vote for the opposition alliance.

Moradabad SP candidate Ruchi Veera (left) (Image: News18)

The SP’s surprise candidate and former Bijnor MLA Ruchi Veera is putting up a brave front telling News18 that she has called up Hasan and wanted to go meet him, but he refused to meet her and advised her to concentrate on the campaign. “Hasan Sahib is like my elder brother. I hope he supports me,” Veera told News18, days before the Moradabad election. The BJP, on the other hand, got Home Minister Amit Shah and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to campaign here.

BJP Camp Upbeat

71-year-old Kunwar Sarvesh Kumar Singh registered a historic victory from Moradabad in 2014 Lok Sabha polls and is in the fray again, even as the opposition says he is not in the best of health. Singh has been a multiple-time MLA, strongman and a veteran leader. His son, Sushant Singh, who is an MLA from Badhapur seat in Moradabad, is holding the campaign for him. “SP has admitted that their MP did not do any work in the last five years as they have dropped ST Hasan as their candidate. In 2019, we lost as the SP-BSP alliance came as a shock to us,” Sushant told News18.

BJP has fielded 71-year-old Kunwar Sarvesh Kumar Singh from Moradabad. (Image: News18)

The BJP is already running a campaign saying Ruchi Veera is an “outsider” and SP could not find any local candidate. BJP supporters present at a rally of Amit Shah in Moradabad said this was a clear-cut sign of BJP’s win.

Veera is at pains to explain that she was born and raised in Moradabad and later got married and moved to Bijnor. “If Narendra Modi can come from Gujarat and fight from Varanasi, why can’t the daughter of Moradabad fight from here,” Veera asked. She claimed that her competitor Sarvesh Kumar Singh does not treat locals with respect.

Locals Speak

Many locals, however, are rooting for the BJP here, saying this election is a vote for Narendra Modi. A young Muslim girl having a meal at KFC in Moradabad city told News18 that though she feels that no party has worked on improving the socio-economic status of people, she has no complaints with the BJP on the issue of law and order as things have improved in Western UP on that count.

Moradabad has become a ‘Smart City’ over the last five years and BJP says its double-engine in Delhi and Lucknow has ensured the transformation. Moradabad is a Muslim-dominated seat and the Samajwadi Party is hoping for a consolidation here. However, BSP, with its candidate Mohd Irfan Saifi, is playing spoiler for the opposition on yet another seat in West UP.

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