“It’s good that Modiji has come to this battlefield. The ground for this Mahabharata is ready. People will tell him about me,” he said.
When Narendra Modi touches down at the Suara airstrip in Rohtas Friday, Pradeep Joshi will be listening carefully. “It’s good that Modiji has come to this battlefield. The ground for this Mahabharata is ready. People will tell him about me,” he said.
Joshi is not a BJP leader or from the grand alliance or even an NDA rebel. In Dehri, Joshi presents a unique political challenge. An independent candidate, he is more saffron than anybody around — even local BJP leaders accuse him of communal politics.
A cloth merchant, Joshi burst into the scene in October 2005 by stunning former RJD minister Iliyas Hussain by 43,000 votes. In 2010, after he was convicted in a case, he propped his wife Jyoti Rashmi, who won. “In the last 10 years, there hasn’t been a contest here. We will win again,” said Joshi.
At each campaign, Joshi and his wife, who is contesting from Sasaram, begin by asking whether there are any Muslims in the audience. “If so, please leave because we don’t want Muslim votes,’’ they say. Joshi has his own political outfit, which was initially named Hindu Seva Dal and is now called Rashtriya Seva Dal.
It’s a triangular contest in Dehri. The NDA had allotted the seat to the RLSP, whose chief Upendra Kushwaha was elected to the Lok Sabha from here. The RSLP, in turn, has given the ticket to a young BJP worker and ward counsellor Jatendra Kumar, a.k.a. Rinku Soni, after he switched to Kushwaha’s party. The grand alliance has again fielded the RJD’s Hussain, a five-time MLA from here.
Qureshi said the largest chunk of votes in Dehri comes from the Yadav community, followed by Rajputs, Koeris and Kurmis. “There are 17 candidates, but this contest is between Hussain and Joshi,” said Qureshi.
Rajinder Ram, a villager from Ambedkar Nagar, wouldn’t agree. “Let’s wait,” he said. “It will be clear only after Modi comes. Let’s see what his impact will be.”
Source : Indian Express