The name that has become synonymous with the politics of Noida, a metropolitan suburb right next to the national capital, is Dr. Mahesh Sharma. Since his election to the 16th Lok Sabha, Sharma’s clout has grown further as Narendra Modi’s tsunami hit India’s political landscape.
Running a hospital chain, a doctor by profession and a Brahmin by caste in Uttar Pradesh, Gautam Buddha Nagar, as the district is officially known, had vanished any opposition from within the BJP. But after ruling for two consecutive terms, for the first time, the “undisputed king” of Noida may face opposition from within, even before he faces opposition parties.
After ruling the high-profile seat almost unopposed for a decade, ‘Doctor Sahab’, as Sharma is fondly called by many, is set to face another BJP leader from the region, Nawab Singh Nagar, for the BJP ticket. have been It is early July and the former MLA, who was also a minister in the Uttar Pradesh government, has started his campaign for the same seat.
Currently, Nagar is campaigning in the rural areas of the district, where he is believed to have a strong hold. “Yes, you heard right. I am going door to door, meeting people because I want to contest from Gautam Buddha Nagar on a BJP ticket. People want me to contest the elections,” Nagar told News18. He said he took the decision after he was “credibly informed” that the BJP was keen to field Mahesh Sharma from the second seat.
Nagar did not hide his aspirations when he threw a virtual challenge to Sharma by saying that he is more popular than the sitting BJP MP. “Let the leadership conduct a survey here. Let them find out the popularity. I am definitely ahead. If a survey is conducted, I will pass with good marks,” a confident Nagar told News18.
Sharma got nearly 6 lakh votes in 2014, while his nearest rival Samajwadi Party’s Narendra Bhati got almost half – 3,19,490 votes. He was made a part of Modi’s Union Council of Ministers. In 2019, his performance got even better when Sharma managed to secure 8,30,812 votes, while his nearest rival, the BSP’s ‘Mahagathbandhan’ candidate Satveer Nagar managed to secure 4,93,890 votes.
Who is Nawab Singh Nagar?
Nagar has been a two-time MLA from Dadri, which falls under the Gautam Budh Nagar Lok Sabha constituency. If Sharma has a strong urban base, Nagar has rural support. However, his foray into the urban sphere is marked by his agitation against the collection of toll fees on the Delhi-Noida-Delhi (DND) flyway, which saw him lead several protests.
He also successfully led the farmers’ protest and was jailed for it. He was part of the BJP’s Kisan Cell and was made the chairman of the Sugarcane Development Board of Uttar Pradesh in the Yogi Adityanath government. Western UP is considered as the sugarcane belt. The disillusionment of the farmers is still intact due to the three controversial bills brought by the BJP. With the prospect of a farmer leader in the fray, it will ease the BJP’s tally in the region, including the Baghpat and Muzaffarnagar regions.
However, Nagar has not been a man without controversy. After the infamous Dadri lynching of Mohd Akhlaq, this BJP leader justified the act which proved to be one of the main reasons for his sidelining. Nagar’s close friends told News18, Nagar considers Mahesh Sharma responsible for his fate. When Nagar was asked about his fate after his remarks after Dadri, he said, “Rivalry is common in politics. How can you deny this? It’s always been there.” His aides are insisting that he now wants to replace Sharma.