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‘Mood in West UP Like 2014, BJP-RLD Tie-Up has Turned Around Arithmetic’: BJP’s Sanjeev Balyan to News18 – News18

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Last Updated: March 27, 2024, 10:32 IST

Sanjeev Balyan introduced News18 to many Muslims who turned up during his nomination rally. (News18)

The two-time Muzzafarnagar MP said much water has flown since the 2013 communal riots and many Muslims will vote for him

“The mood in western Uttar Pradesh this time is like in 2014…the 2014 storm of the BJP is back. We will sweep entire western UP,” says BJP’s most prominent Jat face in the region, Union minister and Muzzafarnagar MP Sanjeev Balyan.

Balyan spoke to News18 just before he filed his nomination from the seat which he has represented in Parliament for the last decade. It was the 2013 communal riots and the Modi wave that led to BJP winning from Muzzafarnagar in 2014 after a gap of 16 years. BJP swept all 16 Lok Sabha seats of West UP in 2014 but dropped to nine seats in 2019 after the SP, BSP and RLD tied up. But now, RLD has tied up with BJP and that is expected to lead to a consolidation of Jat votes.

“This time, BSP is fighting separately…they have a vote bank on each seat. Secondly, RLD is with us. So BSP is going separately and RLD is coming with us and we both have our vote banks. The arithmetic is a complete opposite of 2019. We won in 2019 also and this time, too, there is no doubt. At many places, there is no fight at all. Opposition candidates are ready to leave their ticket if they can,” Balyan told News18. Balyan’s main opponent now is SP’s Narendra Malik.

Moving in the sugarcane belt of Muzzafarnagar, which is the sugarcane capital of West UP, farmers throw their weight behind Balyan but say they need more money for their crop. (News18)

It is ironic that RLD’s Jayant Chaudhary is now allying with Balyan and his party after the BJP leader had handed a narrow loss to Jayant’s father Ajit Singh from Muzzafarnagar in 2019.

“Yes, I fought election against Ajit Singh. He was a big leader. A leader is not big or small due to a loss. I always respected him and fought respectfully against him in 2019. I have respect for his family and Chaudhary Charan Singh. Today, Jayant and I are together and we will make a clean sweep,” Balyan said.

Muzzafarnagar’s Mood

Moving in the sugarcane belt of Muzzafarnagar, which is the sugarcane capital of West UP, farmers throw their weight behind Balyan but say they need more money for their crop. The procurement price for sugarcane in West UP is around Rs 370 per quintal.

“Balyan will win…but we need at least Rs 400 for sugarcane crop. He should get it done,” a group of hookah-smoking farmers in a Muzzafarnagar village told News18. Some also complained of the present season’s pending dues.

“The sugarcane procurement price is Rs 370 and it should be increased further. Even I want that. I’m also a farmer like other farmers,” Balyan told News18. He said 90 per cent of the sugar mills were making payments to farmers at the correct time. “In my district, of eight sugar mills, seven are paying at the right time and within seven days. One sugar mill of Bajaj has been issuing late payments…some sugar mills in the state make delayed payments and farmers face troubles. By year-end, even these will be remedied,” Balyan said.

Muslims will vote for BJP: Balyan

The 2013 Muzzafarnagar riots meant that elections in West UP got a communal tinge since, with Jats and Hindus rallying behind the BJP and Muslims looking for the party that could beat the BJP. The Samajwadi Party and Congress alliance could do the same this time.

A group of hookah-smoking farmers in a Muzzafarnagar village told News18 that they need at least Rs 400 per quintal for sugarcane. (News18)

“Congress is nowhere here. Their family has deserted UP. This election is not on the issues of caste or religion. The election this time is on the issue of 10-year-long development by PM Narendra Modi and 7-year-long development by CM Yogi Adityanath. Many Muslims will vote for the BJP this time,” Balyan said, introducing News18 to many Muslims who turned up during his nomination rally.

He also said much water has flown since the 2013 riots and time had healed wounds. “Now the issue is development of UP and Muzzafarnagar. We are fighting on the basis of work,” Balyan claimed.

The electoral mood in West UP often determines the election sway in the rest of the state. “Western UP farmers say when wind blows from the west, it is very beneficial for the crops and all the kida-mukoda (harmful insects) die. This hawaa from west UP will become an aandhi in the rest of the state,” Balyan told News18.

This time, there does not seem to be much of a challenge to Balyan’s claim.

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