Hundreds of BJP and RSS workers from other states have spread out in Uttar Pradesh, confirms Sanjay Pandey from Mumbai. He is leading a 125-member group from the city, who are all Mumbai residents for years but who hail originally from 54 assembly constituencies in nine districts. “Before leaving for UP, we attended training sessions and among others, former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis also spent time with us,” confides Pandey.
One of the group members Santosh Thakur was in Sultanpur, where four out of the five assembly seats happen to be with the BJP. But Thakur admits that neither party workers nor the people seemed happy with the sitting BJP MLAs. While there is anger among some sections of the voters, other sections seemed appreciative of Modi and Yogi having “put Muslims in their place”. Muslims, adds Thakur, did not seem to be enthusiastic about Owaisi.
The feedback received by the team of Arjun Gupta, originally from Ayodhya but touring in Kanpur Dehat, is similar. While sitting BJP MLAs are not popular among people, he found considerable support for both Modi and Yogi. This group seemed to think that educated and affluent Muslims were favourably inclined towards BJP while the poorer and less literate sections seemed to be supporting Owaisi.