Parties eyeing 12 backward castes in Ballia by-poll

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Ballia, Dec 26 (UNI) In the run up to the Ballia Lok Sabha bypoll slated for December 29, the political parties are trying to woo the voters belonging to the 12 backward castes, which have not been included in the Scheduled Castes.

Of these Rajbhar, Gond, Mallah, Been, Turha, Nishad, Majhi and Kahar have the potential to influence the outcome with their support.

In the 2004 Lok Sabha election, these castes had played a major role in propelling the BSP candidate to the second spot.

The bypoll had been necessitated following the death of former Prime Minister and sitting MP Chandrashekhar. The principal opposition Samajwadi Party had fielded his son Neeraj Shekhar in the polls.

The BSP fielded Vinay Shankar Tiwari -- son of former UP minister and strongman Hari Shankar Tiwari.

Tiwari is one of the strongest contenders in fray following the polarisation of brahmin and dalit votes in Uttar Pradesh.

State Transport Minister Ramachal Rajbhar, Revenue Minister Phagu Singh Chauhan and Fisheries Minister Jamuna Nishad are actively canvassing among these 12 backward communities to swing their vote in favour the BSP candidate.

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