Suresh Khanna, the BJP candidate from Uttar Pradeshs Shahjahanpur, is seeking his eighth consecutive election victory in this urban constituency but the going may not be easy for him.
There is an unabated resentment over demonetisation amid possible polarisation of minority votes in favour of Samajwadi Party candidate Tanveer Khan.
“It is a close fight between Khanna and Khan,” Anuj Kumar, a resident of Bijalipura in the city, told IANS.
And the tilt may be in favour of Khan as anger among the business community was visible against the BJP over the issue of demonetisation.
Many of them complained that their businesses in the last three months have fallen drastically.
Sukhbir Gupta runs a readymade showroom in the city’s main market and he alleged that his sales have decreased in the aftermath of the November 8 announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to spike high currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 ostensibly to curb corruption and black money.
“Even during the marriage season, sales didn’t pick up,” Gupta said, claiming he had to lay off some staff at his shop.
The city has about 3.6 lakh voters; out of which 1.3 lakh are Muslims who can turn the tide against Khanna.
Shahjahanpur votes on Wednesday in the second phase of the assembly elections along with 66 assembly constituencies.
VK Bhatnagar, a former general manager of the Balrampur Group Sugarmill said Khanna had failed in carrying out any development work that has angered many in the constituency.
“But he has a very clean image,” Bhatnagar said, alleging that Khan was promoting ‘goondaism’ in the city.
Another resident Satyaprakash Mehta, in his late 60s said Khan had done some good work when he was the chairman of the civic body in the city.
“But since he was appointed as the district president of the Samajwadi Party, he too went on the path of collecting money for all means,” Mehta alleged.
In the 2012 voting, Khan lost to Khanna by a margin of 16,000 votes while the BSP’s Aslam Khan got 19,000 votes.