UP Election 2022: SP picks nominee for Ayodhya polls, other parties ponder over candidates
Lucknow, Jan 26: With the Samajwadi Party nominating old hand Pawan Pandey on the Ayodhya seat, all eyes are on the BJP which is yet to name its candidate for the high-profile constituency after buzz on Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath stopped with the party fielding him from the Gorakhpur Urban seat.
The BSP and Congress are also yet to come out with the names of their candidates but people here see the poll as a direct fight between the SP and the BJP.
Akhilesh Yadav's party on Tuesday night declared the candidature of former MLA Pandey on the seat.
A promising youth leader from Lucknow University, Pandey had won the seat in 2012 but lost in 2017. He was also a minister in the Akhilesh Yadav government.
Even as the SP has come out with the name of its candidate, BJP supporters are still guessing whether it will be sitting MLA Ved Prakash Gupta or someone else.
Like in the past, Ayodhya is being used as a springboard by all major parties to launch its election campaign this time too.
Suraj Kumar of Nayaghat says, "There is resentment against the incumbent MLA as he could not fulfil the aspirations of the people. If the BJP changes its candidate, it will be to its advantage".
"A lot of work has been done here due to which land was acquired and for development work, demolition also took place. When there is development, some structures are to be razed," he noted.
When asked about the resentment prevailing among the traders, Ayodhya Vyapar Mandal President Nand Kumar Gupta, said the widening of road from Saadatganj to Ayodhya Ghat requires demolition of shops.
"These shops are on properties of Raja (Ayodhya) or temples. The shopkeepers here will not be getting any compensation. It's a matter of their livelihood as they are here for the past three-four generations," Gupta said.
According to the proposed plan, two stretches of the road in Ayodhya dham (Old Ayodhya town), including the one leading to the historic Hanuman Garhi temple, would be widened.
Traders are opposing this project as a large number of shops will be demolished for it, he said.
Another major road expansion is proposed on the 4.6-km stretch from Naya Ghat to Udaya crossing, where the road would be 24 ft wide (12 ft on both sides of the divider). The traders want it to be curtailed to 20 ft, another local trader said.
Besides anti-incumbency, another thing which is against the local BJP MLA, according to another trader Janardan Pandey is that despite being a trade leader himself, he could not raise the voice of his community effectively before the government.
Rakesh Singh, a student of Ram Manohar Lohia Avadh University, said the BJP government has tried to showcase Ayodhya as a newly developed city with an upcoming international airport, world class railway station and several other projects under the Ramayana circuit.
"This is certainly something appreciated by everyone in Ayodhya. Who will not like the development of his city?" he asked.
Ashish Kumar, a BJP supporter, who came to pay obeisance at Hanuman Garhi temple, when asked about chances of the party's victory in Ayodhya, said, "The BJP leadership must be aware of the ground realities. Whosoever will be our (BJP) candidate the person will certainly win."
Ayodhya assembly segment will go to vote in the fifth phase on February 27.
The seat was held by BJP's Lallu Singh, the party MP now, in 1991, 1993, 1996, 2002, 2007. He, however, tasted defeat at the hands of SP's Pawan Pandey in 2012.
In Ayodhya constituency, there are 13-15 per cent Brahmins and Yadavs and 18-20 per cent Muslims.