Voting for the Ghoshi Lok Sabha constituency will take place on the last phase of Lok Sabha elections on 19th May, but the SP-BSP is facing a unique problem. The BSP candidate from the seat Atul Rai is missing for last few days, as he is absconding after his anticipatory bail plea in a rape case was rejected by the court.
On 2nd May, Atul Rai was booked for the rape of a 30-year-old woman. The victim is a native of Vallia, and according to allegations, she was sexually assaulted by Rai in an apartment in Varanasi. Rai had rejected the allegations and registered an FIR against the woman.
The victim has made charges of repeated rape, filming of the crime scene and threats to make the video public. She said that Rai had called her to his flat in Chitaipur locality in Varanasi in the pretext of introducing her to his wife, where he had raped her and made a video recording of the same. The woman alleged that she was forced to sleep with other BSP leaders.
Following the charges, Atul Rai had approached the Allahabad High Court seeking anticipatory bail, but the court had rejected the petition on 8th May. After that Rai has been absconding, and police are looking for him to arrest in the case.
But the SP-BSP coalition is putting a brave face in the constituency and has not stopped the election campaign even if their candidate is nowhere to be seen. And they are confident about their committed voter base. BSP’s district in-charge Lalit Kumar Akela said, “his absence is not going to make any difference. Our voters are committed.”
BSP is hoping that caste arithmetic will ensure victory for their absconding candidate. The caste breakdown of Ghoshi is as follows: 3.5 lakh Jatavs (Dalit), 3.5 lakh Muslims, 2 lakh Yadavs (OBC), 1.2 lakh Rajbhars (OBC), 1 lakh Nonias (OBC) and 80,000 non-Jatav Dalits, among other castes, and around 4 lakh upper caste voters.
BSP workers say that the voters are voting for the gathbandhan and behenji (Mayawati), and the presence of the party candidate from the constituency does not matter. Atul Rai is facing BJP candidate Harinarayan Rajbhar, who is current MP from Ghoshi.