Anupriya faces twin challenges of water & turncoat to break the jinx on The Turf Of ‘Kaleen Bhaiya’ | India News – Times of India

Anupriya faces twin challenges of water & turncoat to break the jinx on The Turf Of ‘Kaleen Bhaiya’ | India News – Times of India

The dry land of Mirzapur is eagerly waiting for rains to get relief from the scorching heat. Same is the situation on its poll turf where water could be the deciding factor. Situated on the banks of the Ganga river, shortage of potable and non-potable water is the main election issue in the district which has shot to fame thanks to the popular OTT series ‘Mirzapur’.
The primary source of irrigation for cultivation of crops in more than three dozen villages of Marihaan sub-division of Mirzapur, the sluice gates to provide water to the canal were lifted last time in 2022 Rabi season. The starting point of the canal has now dried up and algae has covered its bed.
Baba Yadav, a local resident and a worker of Apna Dal (Sonelal) faction, shares the plight of villagers: “For the past two years we have been struggling in every cropping season as no water comes from the canal. In remote areas of Mirzapur, every family depends on agriculture for livelihood. Ahead of the paddy cultivation in Jan and Feb, power supply was also irregular because of which borewells could not be operated.” Yadav adds that he has been unable to convey these concerns to the party leadership due to lack of access.
Mirzapur is among the driest regions of the state and its farmers rely heavily on the monsoon-fed dams and reservoirs for agriculture. Presence of red sandstone and rock terrains make drilling of borewells difficult unlike other parts of the state.


Can Anupriya break the jinx?

Mirzapur is known for not giving more than two consecutive turns to an MP. Apna Dal (Sonelal) candidate Anupriya Patel is aiming to break the jinx this time, but it’s a tough fight for her on the seat she has been representing since 2014. Anupriya, 43, is having a face-off with BJP turncoat and sitting MP from neighbouring Bhadohi, Ramesh Chand Bind, 50, who has entered the fray in Mirzapur on SP ticket after being denied the ticket in his constituency.
Mirzapur comprises five assembly segments of Chhanbey, Mirzapur, Majhawan, Chunar and Marihaan. While the gun-toting mafia like ‘Kaleen Bhaiya’ are limited to reel life, the real-life kaleen (carpet) traders are keen for an MP who can address their business concerns. Rajesh Kumar, vice-president of All India Carpet Manufacturers’ Association, says: “The one district one product scheme has certainly created a brand value for Bhadohi-Mirzapur carpets but the industry is not getting the support it needs. The incentives have been rolled back or withdrawn while additional compliances and regulations that have been introduced in the recent years have impacted the business.”
Ramesh Bind has an uphill task to consolidate voters beyond Muslims, Yadavs and Binds (the three communities account for 4-5 lakh votes). Bind has also been mired in controversies for making inappropriate remarks against upper castes and it’s being raked up against him in the polls. Bind, though, has deep roots in politics. He was BSP MLA from Majhawan for three consecutive terms (2002, 2007 and 2012) on a seat dominated by Binds, Dalits and Brahmins.

Caste matrix

Caste factor, too, is in the play. Scheduled Caste voters can be the decider for any party. BSP has fielded Manish Kumar Tripathi and Mayawati even addressed a rally in his support on May 23. SCs account for 26% of the population (about 5 lakh voters out of 19.06 lakh electors) and half of them are Jatavs, the old loyalists of BSP. Mirzapur also has a higher population of Kol voters compared to Pasi.
OBCs, particularly Patels, constitute the largest chunk in the district and are expected to stand behind Anupriya firmly for the third time. Rajesh Patel, a businessman in Rajgarh development block of Chunar, says, “I will support Anupriya because she is our community leader and a minister. Her margin may drop but she will sail through.” Patel, however, adds that “No steps were taken when we needed water and power for our crops in Jan and Feb. Water crisis is perennial and we hope Anupriya will find a permanent solution in her third term.”
Backing Ramesh Bind, Mithlesh Prajapati from Danti village of Majhawan says, “Bulldozers were used to bring down houses of 40 rural families in Danti in Jan last year. Nobody paid heed to our pleas and it is time to teach a lesson to the local MLA and MP.” Local administration had identified the land in Danti for setting up a university and razed the houses to clear up the land. However later on the project was shifted to Deori Kalan.

Urban voters

Urban voters in Mirzapur say work on the upcoming Vindhyavasini shrine corridor, proposed investment projects and improved connectivity through national highways might go in favour of the BJP-Apna Dal (S) alliance. Shyam Kumar Dubey, who runs a battery shop near Mirzapur railway station, says, “You should have seen the railway station earlier to realise what has changed. The only issue which I can recollect was frequent closure of the Lal Bahadur Shastri bridge (pucca pul) over the Ganga during the past three years for repair works. However we would soon get six-lane connectivity as Yogi Adityanath has made the announcement and provided the budget for its construction.”

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