Bansgaon Lok Sabha Election 2024: BJP Aims For Historic Fourth Term For Kamlesh Paswan – News18

The Bansgaon (SC) Lok Sabha constituency, one of the 80 parliamentary constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, is reserved for Scheduled Castes. It includes parts of Deoria and Gorakhpur districts and comprises five Legislative Assembly segments: Chauri-Chaura, Bansgaon (SC), and Chillupar in Gorakhpur, as well as Rudrapur and Barhaj in Deoria. Voting for the Bansgaon Lok Sabha constituency will take place in the seventh phase of polls on June 1. The counting of votes will take place on June 4.

Current MP: Kamlesh Paswan of the BJP since 2009, preceded by Mahabir Prasad of Congress (2004)

Candidates: Kamlesh Paswan (BJP), Sadan Prasad (congress), Ramsamujh (BSP)

Political Dynamics

It’s a close contest in the Bansgaon Lok Sabha constituency with the BJP wielding an edge with three-time MP Kamlesh Paswan and the Congress banking on Sadal Prasad who has come in second three times in the 2004, 2014 and 2019 elections while contesting from the BSP.

Bansgaon had previously been a Congress party bastion, held for a whole decade by Mahabir Prasad from 1980 until it was stormed by the BJP’s Raj Narain Passi in 1991. After Passi, it was the Samajwadi Party’s Subhawati Paswan, mother of Kamlesh Paswan, who opened the SP’s account for the first time in 1996.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha Election, Kamlesh Paswan won the seat marking a hat trick with a vote share of 56.41% and a winning margin of 1.53 lakh votes down from 1.89 lakh votes in 2014. While the lead narrowed, the BJP candidate’s vote share went up from 48.35% to 56.41%. Meanwhile, in the assembly elections of 2022, the BJP bagged all five assembly segments, reflecting its dominance in this constituency.

BJP Aims for Historic Fourth Term

The BJP has nominated its sitting MP Kamlesh Paswan to contest for a historic fourth consecutive term in Bansgaon. Kamlesh Paswan is the son of Subhawati Paswan who had previously won the seat for the SP in 1996. Paswan is a well-known leader in the constituency, whose campaign has taken off with the support the grassroots karyakartas, despite initial reports of discontentment among local party ranks over his re-selection in 2024.

The Paswans have in the last few years dominated the political landscape of Bansgaon as far as general elections are concerned. However, the Kamlesh Paswan, having been elected MP thrice since 2009, faces a wave of anti-incumbency against him. A section of voters is disappointed with his selection this time, especially upper caste voters. The word ‘arrogance’ is also thrown around when voters describe why they are dissatisfied.

However, Paswan hopes to rely on the Modi-Yogi double engine factor which is prevalent in the constituency. As the poling date gets closer, the Modi factor is becoming more and more dominant as opposed to the local candidate’s stature, making up favourable conditions for Paswan. With a comfortable margin of 1.5 lakh votes, and with a Congress opponent whom he has already defeated three times before, Paswan hopes to sail through in the name of Prime Minister Modi.

PM Modi’s popularity stems from various factors in Bansgaon, including his ‘saffron’ image, his push for the establishment of the Ram Mandir and his stand on national security issues. Moreover, welfare schemes pushed by the centre including free ration for the poor, Awas Yojana and Jal Jeevan mission have made a huge impact in Bansgaon. Further, improved law and order under the Yogi government and the party’s focus on development of roads, improving embankments to reduce floods, are also reasons cited by voters. Ultimately, the promise of the Modi-Yogi double engine government has been marketed amply by the BJP.

In terms of caste equations, the BJP is relying on 5 lakh upper caste voters as well as Paswan voters who form the dominating chunk of the 23% Dalit voters in the constituency. Moreover, the BJP is also favourably positioned among non-Yadav OBC voters. Further, Paswan’s candidature is bolstered by the five BJP MLAs in the constituency whose victories in 2022 amounted to a total vote share of 44.5% against the SP’s 28.9% and the Congress’ 3.9%. Meanwhile, the BSP had scored 15% of the vote, indicating the weakness of the INDIA alliance with the BSP contesting separately. The SP and Congress’ combined vote share, if compared with previous elections, falls drastically short of matching up to the BJP’s electoral weight in Bansgaon.

Congress’ Challenge

The Congress has nominated Sadal Prasad, former BSP leader who contested the three Lok Sabha elections from the party and joined the INC in 2024. He is a former minister in the BSP-led Uttar Pradesh government, serving from 2007 to 2012. He was a member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly from 2002 to 2012, having been elected twice from the Bansgaon (SC) assembly in the 2002 and 2007 elections.

In 2004, the Congress’s Mahabir Prasad defeated Sadal Prasad. In 2014, Prasad was defeated by Kamlesh Paswan, securing a vote share of 26.43% for BSP followed by SP’s 15.46% against the BJP’s 48.35%. In 2019, with the SP and the BSP in an alliance, Sadal Prasad secured a higher vote share of 40.6% but fell short against the BJP’s 56.4%. This time, with no such alliance with the BSP, the leader is in a weaker position and yet, contesting from the Congress, Prasad hopes to invoke old memories banking on the core vote of the SP. At this point the Congress has very little to offer electorally to the INDIA alliance having secured only 50,675 votes on its own in 2014. In the 2022 assembly elections the Congress secured a vote share of 3.9% while the SP secured 28.9%.

Prasad has one advantage which is in the realm of image-building. The leader comes off as a simple, humble man to voters which may help him cash in on the brewing anti-incumbency against his BJP opponent. Moreover, having lost thrice before, the leader hopes to generate sympathy votes in his favour appealing to voters to give him a chance as relentlessly pursues the parliamentary seat.

Further, the leader has made several attacks against the BJP leadership questioning its stand in the Prajwal Revanna sex scandal and the side-effects of the Covishield vaccine. Citing issues like unemployment and inflation, the leader hopes to finally win the seat against his opponent.

Prasad, by joining the Congress and backed by the SP, is expecting a major chunk of Yadav votes to align with him this time. His long stint in the BSP may also bring in Jatav votes in his favour. Moreover, Muslim voters, who form over 10% of the electorate will also favour the INDIA alliance’s candidate against the BJP.

Key Issues

Roads

There is a major demand for better road infrastructure and connectivity in the region. While there has been some upgrade reported to rural roads, there is a requirement for better connectivity especially in the rural areas where people have demanded the construction of all-weather roads so that they can sustain the destruction caused by the floods and monsoons. This would also improve connectivity in the region and provide for better economic development of the region.

Flooding

Flooding is a major issue in Bansgaon which leads to major financial losses for the people in the region. While embankments have been created there remains a major issue of damages and maintenance of the embankments.

Farmer Issues

Farmers in Bansgaon face a multitude of challenges, with crop failure being a significant concern due to floods. The lack of piped water facilities hinders irrigation, while rising electricity costs and limited availability of subsidised fertilisers and pesticides further strain their resources. Compensation for crop losses is often delayed and insufficient, leaving farmers burdened with debt. Allegations of corruption further exacerbate the issue, with some farmers claiming that a portion of the compensation is misappropriated by local authorities. Additionally, a lack of market information and access to transport infrastructure forces small farmers to sell their produce to local traders at lower rates, further diminishing their profits.

Health Infrastructure

Bansgaon has adequate health infrastructure, however, its management has let the people down. Despite having multiple health centres in the region, they are often being run without the presence of a doctor or sometimes even a nurse. There is a major shortage of doctors and patients have to travel to Lucknow which causes major inconvenience to the people. Moreover, there is an issue of doctors giving more time to their private practice which overlaps on their time that they have to spend at the public health clinics.

Unemployment and Emigration

Despite projects launched and completed in Bansgaon by both the state and central governments, there is a lack of major industries in the region. Bansgaon is a primarily agrarian district. According to on ground reports unemployment has been a big issue as well as lack of industries, something that has been raised time and again by the people. Due to lack of employment opportunities, youth travel to Mumbai, Surat in Gujarat and other urban centres

Unemployment and Emigration

Unemployment is a major issue in Bansgaon, the region is bereft of big industries, and even those that do exist have failed to cater to the rising employment needs of the population. Agriculture in the region is peppered with several issues which does not make it desirable for the youth who are aiming for a better standard of living for themselves. As a result, people move out towards urban centres in the state or towards Maharashtra and Gujarat to seek better employment opportunities.

Civic Infrastructure

The civic infrastructure in the region is under distress. While road upgradation has taken place in the urban centre’s there is a lack of all-weather roads in the rural areas, making intra-connectivity a major issue. Moreover, inadequate sewage infrastructure, streetlights, congestion and encroachment in the urban centre are major issues for the residents.

Infrastructure Development

Gorakhpur ring road bypass

It is a planned four-lane bypass designed to seamlessly connect the eastern and western regions of Gorakhpur. CM Adityanath announced the project last year as part of four other four lane projects at a cost of Rs. 5700 Crore.

Gorakhpur Expressway

It is a 91.35 km project which will connect Gorakhpur to Azamgarh and will provide quick access to the Purvanchal expressway. The cost of the project is Rs. 5876 Crore.

Railway Infrastructure

The Bansgaon Lok Sabha constituency has seen improvements in passenger amenities at the Chauri Chaura railway station. These included the upgrade of the station to an Adarsh station, construction of toilets, a high-level platform, a waiting room, a ticket window and circulating area works. LED lights were also installed at Chauri Chaura and other stations. Ongoing works include basic facilities for rake handling at Sardar Nagar and Kushmhi and water supply arrangements with toilets at 29 stations in the Varanasi division. A tubewell, a 150mm diameter pipeline and a water tank have also been installed at Sardar Nagar.

Amrit Bharat

Gorakhpur Junction has been selected as one of the stations under the Central government’s Amrit Bharat scheme. This will provide improved infrastructure and passenger facilities and will also transform the station into a logistical hub.

Voter Demographics (2011 Census)

Total Voters: 17,46,513

Urban Voters: 5.6%

Rural Voters: 94.4%

Literacy Rate: 60.68%

Social Composition:

SC: 23.1%

ST: 1.3%

Religious Composition:

Hindu: 89%

Muslim: 10.08%

Explore in-depth coverage of Lok Sabha Election 2024 Voter Turnout, Upcoming Phase, Results Date, Exit Poll And Much More At News18 Website