Azamgarh, located around 100 kilometres away from another political hot-bed in the state – Varanasi, from where the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is contesting, the resonation of the temple town’s contest can be felt here as well.

The ruling SP, which is busy in making its prospects count on the basis of polarization of Minority votes, is facing a formidable challenge from Modi’s Gujarat development model.

In fact, Mulayam is also burdened with the expectations of youth in this area and he faces a challenge of standing tall on this particular expectation, which further puts his credibility at stake.

Kautil village situated on the Varnasi-Azamgarh highway is Muslim dominated area. A 35-year old local resident Hasan said, “What development Netaji (Mulayam) has brought in? There is a scheme of providing Rs 30,000 to Muslim girls studying in college. But who will take the accountability of what happened in Muzaffarnagar.”

There was a tinge of bitterness in Hasan’s words and besides, the issue of development and good governance are on top in the mind of young voters.

Apart from that, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Guddu Jamali enjoys a significant support among Muslim community and this might come off as a major headache of sorts for Mulayam Singh Yadav.

On the other, the political mercury in Azamgarh has hit a new high after Modi’s last rally and the entire SP camp is making all out efforts to secure victory of its supremo. They are doing their best to woo Minority votes.

 BJP candidate Ramakant Yadav, who is contesting against his one-time ‘boss’ Mulayam, also seems to be benefitting from Rajnath Singh’s meeting and he is expected to bag votes of people belonging to upper castes.

Besides, the Gujarat model of development also seems to be gaining popularity here and the little bit of conversation that took place with the students and local residents clearly indicates towards this fact that the area is in dire need of development. The people are upset with the state government for not initiating developmental works in a proper manner.

(JPN/Bureau)

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