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in twin ncr cities bsp places bet on veteran congress man 31 year old punjabi businessman
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In twin NCR cities, BSP places bet on veteran Congress man, 31-year-old Punjabi businessman

A septuagenarian Congress leader who joined the Mayawati-led party only a month ago, and a 31-year-old Punjabi businessman with little political experience: These are Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) picks for Gautam Buddha Nagar, which includes Mayawati’s ancestral village Badalpur, and Ghaziabad, respectively, in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. While some have questioned the party’s choice, insiders expressed hope that the vast political experience of Rajendra Solanki (70) and the “youth factor” of Anshay Kalra besides his appeal in the Punjabi community will help the party in the two adjoining NCR cities. Former Congress man in Gautam Buddh Nagar Solanki was a Congressman for most of his political career, barring a few occasions such as in 2007 when he fought the election from the Sikandrabad seat on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket. He started his political career in 1974 as a student leader and was elected as the students’ union president of NREC College in Khurja. In 1976, during the Emergency, he was appointed as UP Congress’s youth president and later held the post of general secretary on four occasions. Even as some voices ask why Mayawati could not find a BSP leader from her own village, Solanki said the party chose him because he is a “local person” with a formidable political experience. “I am contesting for communal harmony and to end caste inequality. Mayawati had done maximum development in this area — be it an expressway or university. People have not forgotten her,” said Solanki. Targeting his opponent, BJP’s Mahesh Sharma, he said, “Instead of 10 Kailash hospitals, you should have built one AIIMS, where the poor could get treatment.” Young face in Ghaziabad Kalra will be facing BJP’s two-time Ghaziabad city MLA Atul Garg and Congress’s Dolly Sharma, who fought the last election as well. Kalra said despite not spending much time in politics, he is devoted to the party’s ideology and will fight elections on Ghaziabad-specific issues. “Everywhere they (BJP) go, they keep on talking about the flyovers and big infrastructure projects. Aap chaar flyover dikha kar poora desh nahi jeet sakte. Aap ration baant kar vote khareed rahe ho. (You can’t win the entire country by showing a few flyovers. You are buying votes by distributing ration). What about Ghaziabad people’s everyday problems? Farming crisis, stalled flats. the government is not able to conduct even a single exam without the papers being leaked; unemployment is rising and inflation has become unbearable,” said Kalra, adding that his father has been a BSP worker. Dayaram Sen, BSP’s Ghaziabad president, said the party chose Kalra keeping youth voters in mind. “He is an energetic leader, while the other two opponents are tired now. Not only Punjabis, but all communities will vote for the BSP. The country is going through a kind of dictatorship and the BSP is the only option to stop them,” he said.

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