Mathura, Feb 8 (PTI): The BJP’s National Secretary and its media face Shrikant Sharma is wooing voters here promising “uplift” of the Braj area, among other things, to unseat Congress’s Pradeep Mathur, who is banking on his “connect with locals” to win this seat for a fourth consecutive time.
Sharma has made a slew of promises for the Braj area, including getting Mathura included in NCR area and the Yamuna river cleaned.
He accuses the Samajwadi Party and Mathur of doing little for the cause of Mathura.
“There is problem of drinking water on the one hand and that of waterlogging on the other. This is the birthplace of Lord Krishna but there is lack of basic facilities. The electric supply is erratic, there are transportation problems and the crime rate has risen more alarmingly than areas like Mainpuri and Etah,” says Sharma.
As he reaches out to the people of the constituency, which has both urban and rural segments, he tries to raise larger issues as well.
He claims despite the Akhilesh Yadav government receiving funds from the Centre under the JNNURM scheme, the people of Mathura have not benefited due to improper implementation.
Attacking the SP-Congress combine, he alleges that it is a “cocktail of crime and corruption”.
“There is one flop yuvraj (prince) who stayed at the Centre for 10 years. Another yuvraj benefited because of the anger against the Mayawati government over corruption and crime. But he has continued the same legacy and is now enacting a drama.
“The tie-up is a sign of weakness; otherwise why would a chief minister with majority try to retain power on Congress crutches?” Sharma asked.
However, Congress veteran Mathur is optimistic of returning to the assembly for a fifth time “purely on the basis of my connect with the local people as I have been always accessible to them and worked for the areas development”.
He asserts that while often in Uttar Pradesh politics, candidates are evaluated by the strength of their caste, in Mathura he has been able to surpass the boundaries of caste as well as religion.
Mathur also says demonetisation has affected the people and exudes confidence that the Congress-SP alliance will emerge victorious in the crucial polls.
Supporters of Sharma dismiss speculation that there is resentment among party workers over BJP giving the ticket to him.
“There is a craze for Shrikant ji in the area. Many youths rush to take selfies with him,” said one of his supporters.
However, those in the Mathur camp say there were other aspirants for the BJP ticket, who may not work enthusiastically for Sharma’s campaign.
BSP has put up Yogesh Dwivedi, who had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election here unsuccessfully against BJPs Hema Malini, while Ashok Aggarwal, who fought the last assembly election on the SP ticket, is the RLD candidate.