Royalty steps aside for ‘commoners’ in Pratapgarh

Pratapgarh is famous for its Amla cultivation, and for some parties, the constituency has left a sour taste just like the berries it grows….reports Asian Lite News

Pratapgarh, a sleepy district situated about 200 kms from Lucknow, has been known for politics that was dominated by erstwhile royal families.

Former royals have won and reached the Lok Sabha ten times from this constituency.

However, now this seat seems to be moving forward, leaving behind its royal history.

Former Foreign Minister, Dinesh Singh, who belonged to the erstwhile royal family of Kalakankar, represented this parliamentary seat four times and his daughter Ratna Singh thrice.

Apart from this, Ajit Pratap Singh of Pratapgarh estate was MP from here twice and his son Abhay Pratap Singh once.

Ajit Pratap Singh won for the first time on a Jan Sangh ticket and then on a Congress ticket while Abhay Pratap Singh won from Janata Dal in 1991.

Politics in the constituency played out between these two former royal families with the third family – the Bhadri estate headed by Uday Pratap Singh, playing a balancing factor.

Things began to change when Ratna Singh lost elections in 2014 and 2019. She had switched from the Congress to the BJP in 2019.

Raja Bhaiyya, who is the scion of the Bhadri estate and the head of the Bainti estate, has not shown any inclination to contest the Lok Sabha elections. He remains a member of the state Assembly since 1993.

With Ajit Pratap Singh and Abhay Pratap Singh now deceased and Ratna Singh no longer active in politics, Pratapgarh has now opened its doors for ‘commoners’.

Pratapgarh is famous for its Amla cultivation, and for some parties, the constituency has left a sour taste just like the berries it grows.

The BSP has not been able to win any election from here even once.

The SP managed to win in 2004 when it fielded Raja Bhaiyya’s cousin Akshay Pratap Singh, also a former royal.

Pratapgarh also has a sizeable Kurmi population and this helped the Apna Dal win the seat in alliance with the BJP in 2014.

In 2019, BJP’s Sangam Lal Gupta won the seat and the party has renominated him for the 2024 polls.

The SP has named Dr SP Singh Patel as its candidate – with an obvious eye on Kurmi votes. The BSP is yet to announce its candidate.

There are five Assembly constituencies under Pratapgarh Lok Sabha seat, namely Rampur Khas, Patti, Raniganj, Pratapgarh and Vishwanathganj.

In the 2022 Assembly elections, the SP candidate had won from two seats i.e. Patti and Raniganj.

Pratapgarh was won by the BJP and Vishwanathganj by its ally Apna Dal.

The Rampur Khas seat has been held by the Congress for a long time, which remained intact even in 2022.

Pratapgarh goes to polls in the sixth phase on May 25.

Saharanpur to witness triangular contest

Saharanpur, one of the most pivotal Lok Sabha seats from Western Uttar Pradesh will witness the triangular contest between Congress-SP alliance nominee Imran Masood, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Raghav Lakhanpal Sharma and Bahujan Samajwadi Party’s candidate (BSP) Majid Ali.

Notably, the BSP managed to win 41.9 per cent of the vote share in the Saharanpur Lok Sabha constituency in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. BJP candidate touched the mark of 40.1 per cent and the Congress reached 16.9 per cent of vote share. Haji Fazlur Rehman of the BSP emerged victorious, securing a notable mandate with 5,13,268 votes. However, the margin of victory was relatively narrow, with Raghav Lakhanpal of the BJP trailing closely behind with 4,89,942 votes.

The candidate filed by the Congress-SP alliance Imran Masood is a nephew of nine-term MP (five-time Lok Sabha and four-term Rajya Sabha member) Rashid Masood who received immense support from different castes of Hindus during his long political career. To secure victory, Imran is trying his best to revive the non-Musilm support his uncle got earlier.

Meanwhile, ahead of polls, Imran Masood stirred a controversy by saying that if the BJP comes to power, “Muslims will be treated badly” and that “this election is not just about winning or losing, but to save ourselves (Muslims).”

“This election is not about defeating or winning. This is a choice about saving yourself. If BJP comes to power, the first treatment will be for me and you…” he said.

It is noteworthy that the BJP is trying its best to bring Saharanpur under its fold. Addressing a public gathering in Deoband on Friday in support of BJP candidate Raghav Lakhan Pal Sharma from Saharanpur Lok Sabha seat, CM Yogi Adityanath said, “Congress and SP used to capitulate to them, but today ‘Kuch mafia jail mein hain, kuch jahannum chale gaye’ (Some mafia are behind bars, while others have met their fate). Their influence has been completely extinguished.”

He highlighted the clear division in this election between two opposing ideologies. On one side are those driven by caste divisions, while on the other are individuals dedicated to nationalism.

The Chief Minister emphasised that the Saharanpur district, nestled in the sacred embrace of Maa Balasundari, Maa Shakambhari, and MaaYamuna, stands as the birthplace of heroes.

Meanwhile, BSP’s Majid Ali exuded confidence over winning 204 polls and said that no other party stands any chance of winning against the BSP.

While addressing the reporters, he appealed, “Don’t waste your vote on other parties and render support to BSP.”

“Nobody has more experience than me. We have served people. We have to make the entire Saharanpur beautiful. We have to keep everyone with peace and love. I aim to spread brotherhood and work for the development of Saharanpur,” he added further.

Notably, the Lok Sabha election 2024 in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases from April 19 to June 1. Votes polled in the seven phases of the Uttar Pradesh Lok Sabha election 2024 will be counted on June 4.

In the 2019 elections, turning the arithmetic of the SP-BSP ‘Mahagatbandhan’ in Uttar Pradesh upside down, the BJP and its ally Apna Dal (S) won 64 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats. The partners in the alliance, Akhilesh Yadav’s SP and Mayawati’s BSP could only muster 15 seats.

Voting will be held in Saharanpur Lok Sabha constituency in the first phase of the General elections set to be held on April 19. The date of counting and announcement of results is June 4.

The election for 543 Lok Sabha seats will be held in seven phases starting April 19. (ANI)

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