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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Exclusive India General Elections 2024 Gorakhpur will vote for a change says Kajal Nishad

Exclusive | India General Elections 2024: Gorakhpur will vote for a change, says Kajal Nishad

Updated on: 22 May,2024 07:18 AM IST  |  Gorakhpur
Faizan Khan |

In an exclusive with mid-day, SP candidate says Ram Mandir is not an issue, people want jobs and infra instead

Exclusive | India General Elections 2024: Gorakhpur will vote for a change, says Kajal Nishad

Bhojpuri actress-turned-politician Kajal Nishad at a public meeting in Gorakhpur

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Exclusive | India General Elections 2024: Gorakhpur will vote for a change, says Kajal Nishad

The Gorakhpur Lok Sabha constituency, going to the polls in the last phase on June 1, is a strong bastion of the BJP and the hometown of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan is seeking a second term on a BJP ticket, while Bhojpuri actress Kajal Nishad is running on a Samajwadi Party (SP) ticket. The atmosphere favours Yogi Adityanath, but the BJP is concerned about dissatisfaction within the strong Nishad community, from which the SP candidate hails. Locals acknowledge the BJP’s significant work in Gorakhpur, but caste politics remains a crucial factor.

Kajal Nishad, representing the INDIA bloc on an SP ticket, emphasised in her rally that BJP candidate Ravi Kishan is an outsider from Jaunpur, while she is a native of Gorakhpur. She claimed that the BJP would lose badly this time as she has support from all communities, including the Nishad community to which she belongs. Team mid-day met Nishad in Badhai village, 60 km from Gorakhpur city, where she was campaigning. 

Excerpts from the interview…

Gorakhpur is a BJP stronghold, with Yogi Adityanath having been the MP for long and the BJP currently holding the seat. Why do you think people will vote for you this time?
There are several issues in Gorakhpur that work against the BJP. One of them is that the current Member of Parliament is an outsider, while I am the daughter-in-law of Gorakhpur. The BJP has done nothing significant in the last several years. Despite having their MP and their government at both the Center and state, unemployment remains a major issue. They have done nothing to address it, and it’s not even a focus in their election campaign. The people of Gorakhpur have made up their minds this time and I am telling you, ‘iss baar roti palatne wali hai’ (this time the table will turn).

The BJP MP is mostly talking about the Ram Mandir. Do you think Ram Mandir is going to give BJP an edge in Gorakhpur?
The Ram Mandir is not the focus of this election, and the BJP is well aware of that. People in Gorakhpur and everywhere else perform their religious rituals and then head off to work. But when people don’t have jobs, what are they supposed to do? The youth are unemployed and questioning the BJP. They fear losing this election because the paper leak is a bigger issue in Gorakhpur. Recently, police exam papers and NEET exam papers were leaked. Papers are leaking more frequently than love letters in UP. Several youths have taken their own lives. They are the future of this country, and the BJP has destroyed their prospects. That’s why we’re saying that this time, the public is fighting the elections against the BJP.

The public’s anger about unemployment and stray cattle is palpable. However, these were also issues in the 2022 Vidhan Sabha elections in UP, but still BJP secured a significant victory. Now, in the Lok Sabha elections where the BJP is campaigning on PM Modi’s face, how do you think these same issues will resonate with voters?
The youth in Uttar Pradesh were promised police recruitment, but then the Agneevir scheme came, creating more panic among them. They hoped for change under this government, but instead, they faced more challenges. Now, they’re determined to change this government, starting at the Center and then in the state. Women also had high hopes, especially after the temporary reduction in cooking gas cylinder prices during Holi, presented as a gift to the sisters of UP. However, prices fluctuated, leaving everyone disillusioned. The BJP promised to develop Metro rail in Gorakhpur, but hasn’t done so, the roads are in poor condition, and not a single flyover is available here in Gorakhpur despite the BJP spending 10 years at the Center and seven years in UP. In 2022, there was hope for change, but now the public is fed up, and you’ll witness that change.

How are you ensuring that the election focuses on real issues rather than Hindu-Muslim divisions?
We are committed to ensuring that the election focuses on real issues. Despite attempts by the BJP and the prime minister to polarise the elections, they have failed this time. I’m confident that on June 1, my birthday, the people will give a big gift by voting for real change.

June 1
Day Gorakhpur goes to polls

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