Battle for UP: When friends turn foes in politics

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They were close as peas in a pod. They were friends, mentors and even followers. But today, politics has driven a wedge in their relationship and they are pitted against each other in the electoral battle.

In the Dhampur seat in Bijnor, Moolchand Chauhan is pitted against his disciple Naeem-ul-Hasan.

Naeem is contesting on a Samajwadi Party (SP) ticket and Moolchand is the BSP candidate.

“This is politics and one has to contest elections. I did not like contesting against my mentor, but certain things are inevitable,” says Naeem.

In Pratapgarh, an ugly battle is being fought between independent MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh a.k.a. Raja Bhaiyya and his acolyte Gulshan Yadav.

Gulshan Yadav has been fielded by the Samajwadi Party while Raja Bhaiyya is contesting on his Jansatta Dal ticket.

Raja Bhaiyya has been winning the Kunda seat since 1993 and the battle is largely one-sided but Gulshan Yadav has made it ugly by hurling expletives by his one-time mentor and this is not going down well with the voters.

Raja Bhaiyya dismisses Gulshan Yadav’s campaign against him with a wave of his hand and says, “Let us talk about other things.”

Gulshan, on the other hand, says, “There is a wave in favour of Samajwadi Party and I will create history by winning this seat.”

In Firozabad, Saifur-Rehman is the SP candidate and his rival is his friend Azeem Bhai’s wife Shazia who is the BSP candidate.

Saifur-Rehman, at one time, used to campaign for Azeem Bhai and the two were known to be inseparable but politics has now placed them in opposite ranks.

In Lalitpur, Ram Ratan Kushwaha is the BJP candidate while his first cousin, Ramesh Kushwaha is the SP candidate.

Not so long ago, Ramesh used to campaign for his cousin but now their ways have parted.

Brijlal Khabri is the Congress candidate from Mehroni in Lalitpur while his wife Urmila Khabri is contesting from Orai on a Congress ticket.

His relative, Shri Pal is contesting the Orai seat against Urmila Khabri on a BSP ticket.

Their relatives have cautiously kept away from their campaigns.

“We do not wish to become a party in the family in these elections. What has happened is unfortunate and we hope that the differences melt away after the polls are over,” said a relative who did not wish to be named.

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