U.P.’s Battle Royale in Politically Chilly Winter

Arijit Bose

Lucknow: Enthused by registering Azamgarh and Rampur Lok Sabha seats in its account and increasing the margin of victory in Gola Gokarnath seat, the Bharatiya Janata Party will now contest the by-elections for Mainpuri Lok Sabha, Rampur and Khatauli assembly seats with an eye on a win. In these by-elections, BJP will aggressively attack its political opponents with good governance being the main issue.

In Mainpuri, Rampur and Khatauli, there is a direct contest between BJP and SP alliance in all the three seats. While SP will contest on Mainpuri and Rampur seats, Khatauli seat has gone to the account of its ally Rashtriya Lok Dal. Along with telling the people the benefits of the public welfare schemes of the Modi-Yogi governments, the BJP will also try hard to capitalize on the split in the Mulayam family in Mainpuri and the short temper of Mohammad Azam Khan in Rampur.

Can BJP breach socialist fort ?

The BJP will contest the Mainpuri seat, which fell vacant after the death of SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, with the intention of garnering non-Yadav, non-Muslim votes. The SP has fielded Dimple Yadav, wife of party president Akhilesh Yadav, as its candidate. Two of the five assembly constituencies in the Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat – Mainpuri and Bhogaon – are held by the BJP, while the other three seats are with the SP.

PSP – L president Shivpal Singh Yadav has been elected as MLA from Jaswantnagar seat as SP candidate. Highlighting the Akhilesh-Shivpal rift, the BJP will try its best to breach the Yadav votes as well. BJP’s efforts in this direction will also depend on the attitude of Shivpal. BJP’s strategy will be to encash the anti-Azam votes. The siege of the Muslim-dominated Rampur seat has been started by the BJP by organizing a convention of Pasmanda (backward) Muslims there.

Yadav vs Shakya

Supporting the backward Muslims, the BJP has expressed its intentions by attacking Azam in Rampur in a scathing manner. Stirring up political heat, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Raghuraj Singh Shakya filed his nomination for the by-election to be held on Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat (Mainpuri Loksabha BY-Election). Before filing his nomination, he directly reached the Samadhi Sthal of SP Patron Mulayam Singh Yadav from his private residence in Etawah. There he bowed down to his political guru and offered flowers. Former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s wife is the candidate for the Mainpuri Lok Sabha by-election seat. This time a different type of politics will be seen in Samajwadi Party’s bastion Rampur city assembly constituency. The party has nominated Asim Raja from Rampur, the seat of Azam Khan, while Akash Saxena from BJP is in the fray.

Azam trusts Asim

Asim Raja hails from the Shamsi fraternity and has a strong following in his fraternity. Earlier, in the Lok Sabha by-election for Rampur seat, SP has made Asim Raja its candidate. Then Asim had to face defeat. BJP candidate Ghanshyam Lodhi had won that by-election. Ghanshyam defeated SP candidate Asim Raja by 42,048 votes. Now again Azam Khan has expressed confidence in Asim Raja.

The turncoat dent

The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), which is claiming victory in the by-election in Khatauli assembly seat of Muzaffarnagar, has suffered a major setback. Just before the by-election, party leader Abhishek Chaudhary has joined the BJP. He had sought ticket from RLD regarding the by-election. But, the party declared former MLA Madan Bhaiya as the candidate from this seat. With this, the battle of Khatauli by-election has become exciting.

Double Dhamaal

On the whole, in the by-elections for Mainpuri parliamentary, Rampur and Khatauli assembly seats, Samajwadi Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal (SP-RLD) combine to pose a challenge before the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party. The grand old party Congress has indicated that it will abstain from the contest again. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) too is out of the race. The state president of Congress Brijlal Khabri has been quoted saying that the party is gearing up for local bodies’ elections, which are due in the coming months and would not like to concentrate on the by-polls.

Poll perspective

In Uttar Pradesh, by-elections for one parliament and two assembly seats will be held on December 5.  For several decades, the Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat has been represented by Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family, while Rampur by Azam khan. In the 2019 general elections, Mulayam had won from Mainpuri by a margin of over 1.5 lakh votes. In 2022 assembly polls, Azam Khan had defeated BJP candidate in Rampur by a margin of over 55,000 votes.

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