Will TMC be able to gain a footprint in UP’s Bhadohi?

TMC's first candidate in the state Lalitesh Pati Tripathi is contesting the elections against BJP’s Vinod Bind in the Bhadohi constituency where caste plays a significant role.
BJP's Vinod Kumar Bind is contesting against TMC's Lalitesh Pati Tripathi in the Bhadohi constituency.
BJP's Vinod Kumar Bind is contesting against TMC's Lalitesh Pati Tripathi in the Bhadohi constituency.

LUCKNOW: Popularly known as the carpet hub of India, the Bhadohi parliamentary constituency is witnessing an interesting contest this general election as the major factions of the INDI Alliance -- Congress, Samajwadi Party and Trinamool Congress (TMC) —are putting up a united fight against the ruling BJP.

Though West Bengal is where the INDI Alliance was conceived, it broke apart there due to disagreements between the TMC and other alliance partners. Bhadohi has given them a chance to stay together.

TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, in a bid to expand the footprint of the party in national politics, has fielded her only candidate in the state, Lalitesh Pati Tripathi -- the great-grandson of Congress stalwart and former UP CM Kamla Pati Tripathi -- from Bhadohi. Lalitesh is a Congress turncoat who left the party in 2021, just ahead of the 2022 UP Assembly elections, and joined the Trinamool Congress.

BJP's Vinod Kumar Bind is contesting against TMC's Lalitesh Pati Tripathi in the Bhadohi constituency.
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Responding to the question of why he has left the grand old party, Tripathi said that in order to put up a formidable fight against the BJP government, a concerted and sincere effort by the opposition is required which he found missing in the Congress.

“However, as I can’t compromise on the ideology that I have followed throughout my life, I decided to join a party similar to the Congress, the TMC,” he said. Tripathi had won the Marihan assembly seat on a Congress ticket in 2012.

The BJP won in Bhadohi both in 2014 and 2019. However, this time the seat is set for a triangular contest among the BJP’s Dr Vinod Bind, TMC’s Lalitesh Pati Tripathi and BSP's Harishankar.

Having failed to win the Brahmin-Bind-dominated parliamentary constituency since its formation in 2009 delimitation, the SP has decided to spare the seat for the TMC to try its luck.

Like any other poll arena in the country, Bhadohi is also dominated by caste dynamics. The constituency is known as the carpet hub of the country with an annual trade worth Rs 9,000 crore of which carpets worth over Rs 5,000 crore are exported to countries of the European Union and the United States annually.

However, the carpet weavers of Bhadohi are riled by the fact that their issues, backlog in infrastructural support, never resonate on the ground during the elections. All India Carpet Manufacturers Association (AICMA)’s ex-honorary secretary Piyush Baranwal feels that this time too, the industry’s concerns are not being raised as an election issue.

According to him, technological upgradation in designing, dyeing and finishing in accordance with the demand for the international market are the need of the hour for the industry to flourish. Baranwal also demands training sessions for artisans from time to time.

Anger against the sitting BJP MP boils in the words of Nawazuddin, a local carpet yarn trader, who pointed out that the parliamentarian has hardly visited the weavers in the last five years despite the industry's valuable contribution to the country's economic growth.

“There should be a policy to promote hand-made carpets,” he said.

Considering the anti-incumbency sentiments against its sitting MP, the BJP has chosen to change the candidate and fielded Dr Vinod Bind. At the same time, the outgoing MP Ramesh Bind joined SP and has got a ticket from the neighbouring Mirzapur seat to challenge BJP ally Apna Dal (S) chief Anupriya Patel.

BJP's Vinod Kumar Bind is contesting against TMC's Lalitesh Pati Tripathi in the Bhadohi constituency.
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On choosing Bhadohi as the introductory constituency for the TMC in UP, Tripathi said that it was decided by both Akhilesh Yadav and Mamata Banerjee among themselves adding that his choice was the Chandauli seat adjacent to Varanasi.

"I'm thankful that Akhileshji has given me his strong seat which will be easier for me to win," Tripathi said adding that he expects to get the benefit of his family legacy in Bhadohi.

While the Muslims and the Yadavs seem to be already tilted in favour of Tripathi, if he manages to win over upper-caste Brahmins, it would come as a major boost to the prospects of the TMC candidate.

Before 2014, Bhadohi seat was known as Mirzapur-Bhadohi parliamentary constituency which came to the limelight when the SP fielded bandit queen turned politician Phoolan Devi in 1996 and she emerged victorious. The Bhadohi parliamentary constituency came into being during the 2009 delimitation by merging the Bhadohi, Aurai, and Gyanpur assembly seats of Bhadohi district and the Pratappur and Handia assembly constituencies of Prayagraj district.

Apart from being the carpet hub, Bhadohi is also known for being home to mafia dons like jailed gangster turned former MLA Vijay Mishra.

“...People were sick of his money and muscle power here,” says Ram Sanjeevan Shukla, a resident of the area adding that the government action against him has garnered some support for the BJP on the ground.

As per local political experts, the equations were against the ruling party in Bhadohi, which is expected to have shifted to some extent after PM Modi’s May 16 rally. The return of a prominent leader, Rangnath Mishra, to the BJP from the BSP is also expected to have given a cushion to the saffron brigade.

Bhadohi constituency at a glance:

Date of Vote: May 25 (6th phase)

Total candidates in fray: 10

Total voters: 20 lakh


BJP: Dr Vinod Bind

TMC: Lalitesh Pati Tripathi

BSP: Harishankar

Assembly seats: 5: Pratappur, Handia, Bhadohi, Aurai and Gyanpur.

BJP and allies: Aurai and Gyanpur.

SP: Pratappur, Handia, Bhadohi

Caste Equation:

Brahmin: 3 lakh

Bind: 3 lakh

Dalit: 2.5 lakh

Muslim: 2.5 lakh

Yadavs: 1.5 lakh

Vaishya: 1.5 lakh

Rajputs, Patels and Pal: Rest 6 lakh

BJP's Vinod Kumar Bind is contesting against TMC's Lalitesh Pati Tripathi in the Bhadohi constituency.
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