Lucknow: In the second phase of Lok Sabha election on Thursday, as many as 85 candidates would be trying their luck for eight of the total 80 seats of Uttar Pradesh. Of these, the most candidates, 15, are in Fatehpur Sikri while just seven candidates would be vying for the Nagina seat. Let’s take a look at the eight seats and the key candidates to watch out for:
1. Nagina: As mentioned earlier, there are seven candidates in the fray. A cutthroat competition is set among BJP, Congress and BSP (representing the alliance) candidates. While BJP’s sitting MP Yashwant Singh is defending his seat, giving him a run for his money are Omwati of Congress and BSP’s Girishchand. Singh would be hoping to cash in on the Balakot air strike, Hindutva and PM Modi but what goes against him is the alleged negligence of party worker. RSS workers are also allegedly upset with him.
On the other hand, Congress candidate Omwati has a track record of changing parties which doesn’t make her a very popular leader. But she is one candidate not to be ignored as she has been MLA four times and MP once.
Alliance candidate Girishchand has the SP-BSP votebank to count on. He can also hope to get RLD’s traditional voters on his side. But he doesn’t have a connect with the public. Others in the fray from Nagina include candidates of People’s Party of India Democratic and Ambedkar Samaj Party.
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2. Agra: This city promises a triangular battle among BJP, Congress and alliance candidate. BJP’s S P Baghel has considerable clout among Vaishya, Brahmin, Kshatriya and Baghel communities. But his drawback is that there is infighting that he cannot control. If SC, Jat and Muslim voters vote en masse, Baghel could get into trouble. Against him is Congress’ Prita Harit who left the Income Tax department to join politics. She has a clean image and is the only woman candidate here. However, her party has been losing this seat for long so it might be difficult for her to wrest it back. Alliance candidate Manoj Soni comes with the hope of consolidating SC votes which are in big numbers here. However, not finding the right balance with SP and RLD workers could go against him. Many former MLAs have left BSP and that would in no way help his case.
3. Fatehpur Sikri: This seat also promises a triangular battle. BJP has fielded Rajkumar Chahar while Congress has its state chief Raj Babbar. BSP’s Guddu Pandit is the alliance candidate.
Chahar has the image of farmer-leader and is the only Jat candidate from among the prominent parties. His drawback, however, is that he got the ticket instead of Chaudhary Babulal which has angered many workers. Raj Babbar is a familiar face by now and has been active in the region for a while. He also comes with experience in fighting Lok Sabha elections. However, the state unit of the party is not very strong. Guddu Pandit could do well, considering the large number of BSP and Brahmin voters here. Ally RLD also has a good influence in the region and that could work for him. However, Pandit does not have a very clean image and recently, he used abusive language against Raj Babbar which may not have voters warm up to him.
4. Mathura: BJP is repeating its sitting MP, actor-turned-politician Hema Malini. She has a clean image but what might go against her would be Muslim voters leaning towards anyone else. Against her is Congress candidate Mahesh Pathak. Brahmins are a traditional votebank of Congress. However, groupism mars the local unit of the party. Alliance candidate Kunwar Narendra Singh comes with the assurance of the backing of traditional voters of SP-BSP and RLD. However, here Jat-Thakur voters are split and bringing them together might be a challenge.
5. Aligarh: Another triangular battle is in the offing from Agra. BJP has given the ticket to its sitting MP Satish Kumar Gautam. Congress has fielded former MP Chaudhary Bijendra Singh for the fifth time while Ajit Baliyan represents the alliance. Gautam is defending his seat and hopes for the support of all traditional votebanks of the party. However, reports suggest that that might be tought this time. Brijendra Singh of Congress is a former MP and has fought 12 elections. Again, reports say BJP has made inroads into the Valmiki votebank which could hurt Singh. Alliance candidate Baliyan has the support of SP-BSP as well as RLD votebank. What could go against him may be his inability to keep the Muslim votes together. Some of the others in the fray are Ashok Pandey, Deepak Chaudhary, Shahin Begum and Manoj Singh. There are 14 candidates in the fray.
6. Hathras (R): BJP has MLA Rajvir Singh Diler. Congress has given a ticket to former MLA Triloki Ram Diwakar while alliance has former minister Ramjilal Suman as its candidate.
What could work for Diler is that his father, Kishan Lal Diler, has been an MP four times. At the same time, what could hurt his fortune is the electorate’s resentment towards sitting MP Rajesh Diwakar. Those who’ve been denied a ticket could also hurt him. Congress’ Triloki Ram Diwakar would be helped by the return of former MLA Anil Chaudhary. However, for three decades, Congress hasn’t had an MP or MLA from here and it might be tough to break that jinx. Alliance’s Suman is a four-time MP and a Central minister. The votebank of all three alliance parties might make it a cakewalk for him or it might prove to be difficult for Suman to consolidate. Insiders say there is resentment towards Suman which may be difficult to end.
7. Amroha: Another seat that promises a triangular battle is that of Amroha. BJP’s sitting MP Kunwar Singh Tanwar is defending his seat while alliance has pitted BSP’s Danish Ali and the Congress has fielded Sachin Chaudhary. Tanwar has a clean image but he hardly ever spends time in his constituency, a fact that is resented by the electorate. Congress candidate Chaudhary is a young face and has been in the field for a year now. However, the alliance has pitted a Muslim candidate which could be polarised. Alliance’s Danish Ali is hoping to get all Muslim votes but there is a rift in SC voters and that could cost him heavily.
8, Bulandshahr: There are nine candidates in the fray. Sitting MP Bhola Singh is back to defend his seat. The alliance has fielded Yogesh Verma while Congress has got former MLA Banshi Singh Pahariya. Bhola Singh hogged headlines by proposing a Ring Road here but what’s against him is the fact that he didn’t do much for the villages he had adopted. Banshi Singh has a clean image and hopes to have all traditional Congress voters and Muslims root for him. But he doesn’t have a connect with the youth. Alliance’s Verma is Mayawati’s close confidante. Again, the alliance votes could all come into his kitty. But he has a checkered past and many cases against him.