Lok Sabha elections 2024: ‘Denying Thakurs a ticket is going to benefit us’

18 April,2024 07:35 AM IST |  Ghaziabad  |  Faisal Tandel

Congress’s Dolly Sharma, whom Rahul and Akhilesh are campaigning for, exudes confidence about wresting Ghaziabad from BJP

Congress’s Ghaziabad candidate Dolly Sharma, party leader Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav have begun campaigning for Dolly Sharma, the grand old party's Ghaziabad candidate. According to party workers, their joint presence could boost Sharma's visibility, potentially increasing her chances of defeating the BJP, which is seeing internal squabbles over candidature. mid-day spoke with Sharma, 39, on Wednesday.


Do you think Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav's joint campaign will help you get votes?
Yes, because the BJP makes tall claims but is doing nothing. Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav talk about matters on the ground such as the basic needs of people - education, jobs, women's rights and empowerment, light, water and farmers' issues. People are happy to see them in Ghaziabad.

Dolly Sharma, Congress's Ghaziabad candidate

Why did the two leaders choose Ghaziabad as the place to start the Uttar Pradesh campaign?
It is the
biggest constituency in the state, with around 30 lakh voters. They wanted to start campaigning and decided to begin here.

Why were you given the ticket to contest this particular seat?
I have been working on the ground for the Congress for more than six years and I know most of the problems faced by citizens. People here lack basic amenities such as hospitals, colleges and water. I will try to bring change. The Samajwadi Party didn't oppose my candidature as they believed that I was the right person for the job. Akhilesh Yadav visiting my constituency proves that the party is supporting the alliance and me.

What is the first thing you would change if you came to power?
The BJP makes claims about the Har Ghar Jal Yojana, but when we go around the Ghaziabad constituency, people are crying for water. They have to purchase water for their daily needs. The first thing I will do is to set up a proper water facility.

Do you think women are safe in Ghaziabad?
Women are not at all safe in Uttar Pradesh. The crime rate proves this. In Ghaziabad, women's mobile phones are snatched on the streets and chain-snatching takes place every other day.

Ghaziabad has seen good development over the past few years with high-rise towers popping up. How will you ensure this continues?
Do high-rise buildings indicate development? The builder mafia is acquiring open land illegally and developing such structures. Development is when you have schools, colleges, hospitals and playgrounds in the city. But they are disappearing here. I aim to provide these facilities to citizens.

Were you planning to contest the Lok Sabha election?
There were no plans to do so from my side. I was working hard for the people and the party. The INDIA bloc believed in me and trusted me to be its candidate. I am thankful for receiving the opportunity to represent the people of Ghaziabad. I will try my best and see that most of my time and knowledge is used to serve them.

What is the response you have been seeing so far?
The general public has responded well to our road shows. Muslims, Dalits, Thakurs and a few other communities are with us. Dalits and Muslims were already against the BJP government, but now Thakurs are also opposed to it, which will impact its vote share.

BJP had denied a ticket to the sitting Ghaziabad MP, General Vijay Kumar Singh and picked MLA Atul Garg instead. Your comments.
Denying a ticket to General Vijay Kumar Singh was a mistake. We have respect for him as he is a veteran. Giving a ticket to an MLA who doesn't know his job is just an out-of-the-box decision.

Why do you think Garg is not a good candidate?
He was the health minister of Uttar Pradesh and people have seen the work he did during the lockdown period. He had switched off his mobile phone when people needed the most help. He was sitting behind locked doors at home to avoid responding to people. The citizens know his work. The dead body eaten by dogs is the biggest example of the work done by the health minister.

Do you think the BJP's internal split over seat sharing will benefit you?
Of course. V K Singh is a Thakur/Rajput. But no leaders from this community have been given tickets in western Uttar Pradesh. The community will not support the BJP at all, and this will definitely benefit us.

INDIA bloc leaders speak
Addressing the media in Ghaziabad, Rahul Gandhi said on Wednesday, "The present election is an election for ideology. On the one hand, the BJP and RSS are trying to destroy the constitution and the democratic system and on the other INDIA and the Congress party are trying to defend and protect the constitution and democracy. The biggest issues are inflation and unemployment, but the BJP is engaged in creating distractions. Neither the prime minister nor the BJP here talks about issues." Akhilesh Yadav said INDIA would wipe out the BJP from Ghaziabad to Ghazipur. "Farmers are upset as all the promises of the BJP turned out to be fake. They are not only taking in the corrupt but also keeping the money earned by them," Yadav said.

Facts and figures
Sharma will be contesting for the Lok Sabha election from Ghaziabad for the second time. In the 2019 election, she secured around 1,11,944 votes, losing to General Vijay Kumar Singh of the BJP, who secured 9, 44,593 votes. SP's Suresh Bansal bagged 4,43,003. In the 2014 general election, Singh defeated Congress candidate Raj Babbar by 5,67,260 votes.

Approximate number of voters in Ghaziabad seat

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congress ghaziabad rahul gandhi samajwadi party akhilesh yadav national news Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Uttar Pradesh india India news
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