Ghazipur saw the revival of an old rivalry between Union Minister and BJP candidate Manoj Sinha and the SP-BSP 'gathbandhan' local candidate Afzal Ansari along with Congress' Ajit Kumar Kushwaha, with the polls turning towards Afzal Ansari by a margin of one lakh votes, as of 10:36 PM
Poll campaign issues:
Caste is the major factor which played havoc in this poll battle. While Sinha who was fighting for re-election, had swept the 2014 polls, the combined poll strength of the SP-BSP had attracted the significant Dalit and Muslim vote towards the 'gathbandhan'.
Kushwaha who belongs to an influential backward agriculturist community cut into the BSP's backward class votes. The main role in this poll battle was played by SP's Yadav community which was crucial in delivering its vote to the alliance.
While Sinha who belongs to Bhumihar which is predominant in Bihar rather than Uttar Pradesh, had gotten the Prime Minister to rally in Purvanchal region (where Ghazipur is located) which is a key factor in the formation of the next government at the Centre to counter the SP-BSP's caste-based advantage.
Though Sinha's nationalism and development based campaign along with his track record of five years had garnered support, caste was the major factor swinging the advantage towards the 'gathbandhan' as a local agricultural community did not swallow Congress' NYAY scheme.
The major factor which played against Sinha inspite of his credible pro-development record is the minority population which harbours a strong anti-Yogi Adityanath sentiment due to the incessant targeting of minorities by the 'gaurakshaks' and other saffron party supporters.
Manoj Sinha himself has won the constituency thrice in 1996, 1999 and 2014. He even faced BSP's Afzal Ansari in 2004, where Ansari won.
In 2014, though Sinha won by gathering 31% of the votes which amounted to 3,06,929 votes the SP-BSP combination gathered over 5,00,000 votes which is the main hurdle Sinha battled in 2019.
Ghazipur polled in the final phase of the Lok Sabha polls on May 19.