On the ground, there are several issues that voters discuss before the assembly election. The issue of stray cattle is one of them. Villagers in almost all villages complain about the destruction of crops due to the threat of stray cattle.
Ganpat Singh, a 55-year-old farmer from Rustamgarh village in Khair Assembly constituency, said his five bigha mustard crop was damaged by stray cattle last week. “There are about 50 stray cattle in our village and it has become a huge problem for us. We watch all night long but if they all congregate towards your field there is not much you can do,” a- he told ET. “There is no gaushala (cow shelter) in our village and our request to the government is to save us from it.”
In almost every village there are one or two people who have been injured in attacks by stray cattle. “This is the biggest problem in our village because eight to ten people were injured. We will vote for the RLD this time,” said Hakim Singh, a 55-year-old farmer from Bisawar, one of the largest villages in the region. Jat. community of the Aligarh region. Subhash Singh, 26, from Rustamgarh was attacked by stray cattle the night before and he was lying on his bed with a plaster cast on his left leg. “Two cows just got on the road and I couldn’t control my bike,” he said.
“We are used to it now,” said Lokesh Tiwari, 30, from Nadroi village. “The gaushala also leaves the cows overnight and we have to live with it.”
However, this is not necessarily an electoral problem for a lot of people. “We will vote for the BJP no matter what,” said Subhash Singh.
Others in Rustam Garh, all from the Banjara community, echoed this point of view. “The government has done enough. We get free rations, free toilets and even houses, ”said Ajab Singh Nayak from the same village.
“There are 22 Brahmin villages in the area and they are called Baiesee. Our votes go to the BJP,” Lokesh Tiwari said.
The Hindutva factor is also present and for some it dominates any other problem. “For us, it is more important to prevent this country from becoming Pakistan,” said Shree Bhagwan Parashar from the city of Sadabad. “The vote would also depend on who becomes the BJP candidate.”
Sadabad was the only seat won by Ramveer Upadhyay of BSP. His family members have joined the BJP but he still has not joined the party. “If he challenges, most people will vote for him,” said Atul Narayan of Hathras.
There are four districts in Aligarh Division – Aligarh, Hathras, Etah and Kasganj. The BJP is betting on a larger Hindutva umbrella and beneficiaries among the lower castes and other backward castes (OBC) non Yadav and non Jat. The party is also trying to woo the Jats through the new Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh University in Aligarh.
The opposition tries to pose a challenge through the caste arithmetic of Jats, Yadavs and Muslims in some seats, as well as a few voices from other communities. The SP won 11 out of 17 seats in 2012 while the RLD and BSP won three each. The atmosphere on the ground is more of a bipolar battle between the BJP and the SP-RLD. “The BJP could lose a few seats but the party will return to power,” said Yogesh Kumar, director of a gaushala in the village of Lodha.