Third phase in UP is a test for SP in its bastion

Lucknow, May 5 : Even as Uttar Pradesh gears up for the third phase of polling on May 7, the 10 constituencies will witness the culmination of a high-pitched campaign on Sunday evening.

This phase will witness polling in 10 Lok Sabha constituencies, including Sambhal, Hathras, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etah, Badaun, Bareilly and Aonla.

Of the 10 seats that will vote on Tuesday, the BJP won eight in 2019 — Hathras, Agra, Firozabad, Fatehpur Sikri, Etah, Badaun, Bareilly and Aonla — while Mainpuri and Sambhal went to the Samajwadi Party.

This phase will be a test for the Samajwadi Party’s (SP) first family as well, with Dimple Yadav, Akshay Yadav and Aditya Yadav contesting Mainpuri, Firozabad and Budaun respectively.

In Mainpuri, an SP bastion that the party has never lost, sitting MP Dimple Yadav will take on Jaiveer Singh of the BJP.

In Firozabad, BJP candidate Chandra Sen Jadon is contesting against Akshay Yadav and in Budaun, Aditya Yadav – the son of Shivpal Yadav — is making his electoral debut against Durvijay Shakya of BJP.

The third phase unfolds with the emergence of Other Backward Classes (OBCs), prominently including Yadavs, Lodhs, and Kachhi/Shakya/Murao communities, exerting influence as decisive factors across various constituencies. Alongside, the enduring impact of Muslim and Jat demographics remains significant in select areas.

The third phase has also seen some high-pitched campaigns by leaders of all parties.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath led the BJP’s campaign against, what they called, dynasty and appeasement politics of the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP), and slammed the Opposition for declining the Ram Temple invitation.

The SP, which has much at stake in phase three, pushed its caste census pitch and alleged that the BJP will end reservation and hence is seeking 400-plus seats in the Lok Sabha.

Several constituencies, including Sambhal, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Mainpuri and Aonla are witnessing a three-way battle between the NDA and INDIA alliances and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) while others like Hathras, Firozabad, Etah and Budaun will see a two-way contest between the BJP and the Samajwadi Party.

The constituency-wise scenario in the third phase is as follows —

Sambhal: A Yadav stronghold, Sambhal sent SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav to the Lok Sabha twice in 1998 and 1999 and another SP veteran Prof Ram Gopal Yadav in 2004. The BSP won the seat twice in 1996 and 2009. The lotus here blossomed only once in 2014 while the Congress last won this seat in 1984.

In 2019, veteran SP leader Shafiqur Rahaman Barq won the seat and after his recent demise, his grandson Zia-ur-Rahman Barq is contesting the seat. The BJP candidate is Parmeshwar Lal Saini while the BSP has fielded a Muslim candidate Chaudhary Shaulat Ali.

Hathras: A bastion for the BJP since 1991, Hathras has seen uninterrupted victories for the party. In 2009, the RLD won this seat as an ally of the BJP. The Congress last won here in 1971 while SP and BSP have never won.

In 2019, BJP’s Rajvir Singh Diler defeated the SP’s Ramji Lal Suman. In 2024, the BJP has fielded Anoop Valmiki while the SP and BSP have given the ticket to Jasveer Valmiki and Hembabu Dhangar, respectively.

Agra: The BJP has won this reserved seat five times since 1991, three times in a row since 2009.

BJP’s SP Baghel, Union minister of state, won the Agra seat in 2019. The BJP has repeated the same candidate this time. The SP has chosen Suresh Chandra Kardam while the BSP has fielded Pooja Amrohi.

Fatehpur Sikri: The BJP won this seat twice in 2019 and 2014 and the BSP in 2009.

In 2019, the BJP’s Raj Kumar Chahar won this seat, defeating the Congress’ Raj Babbar. The BJP has retained Raj Kumar Chahar and the Congress has fielded Ramnath Sikarwar. The BSP has relied on a Brahmin candidate Ram Niwas Sharma.

Firozabad: This seat elected SP chief Akhilesh Yadav in 2009 and his cousin Akshay Yadav in 2014. Raj Babbar of Congress gave a shock defeat to SP’s Dimple Yadav in a by-poll in 2009.

For 2024, the BJP has announced Vishwadeep Singh as its candidate while the SP has repeated Akshay Yadav. BSP has fielded Chaudhary Basheer as its candidate.

Mainpuri: One of the most keenly contested seats in the third phase, Mainpuri sent SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav to the Lok Sabha five times. The SP has been winning this seat since 1996. The Congress last won here in 1984. In 2019, Mulayam Singh Yadav won by defeating BJP’s Prem Singh Shakya. In 2024, BJP’s Jaiveer Singh is challenging the SP’s Dimple Yadav. Dr Gulshan Dev Shakya is a BSP candidate.

Etah: The BJP won here six times since 1989. In between, the SP won this seat twice. In 2009, Kalyan Singh won as an Independent supported by the SP.

BJP’s Rajveer Singh, son of Kalyan Singh, won this seat in 2014 and 2019. The party has made him its candidate again in 2024. Devesh Shakya is the SP candidate while BSP has named Mohd Irfan as its candidate.

Budaun: The SP won the Budaun seat continuously from 1996 to 2014, but it was wrested by the BJP in 2019. This time, BJP has replaced the sitting MP Sanghmitra Maurya with Durvijay Shakya.

Aditya Yadav, son of Shivpal Yadav, is making his political debut from Budaun. The BSP candidate is Muslim Khan.

Aonla: The BJP has won this seat six times since 1989 and three times since 2009. The SP has won here twice. Dharmendra Kashyap (BJP), Neeraj Maurya (SP) and Abid Ali (BSP) are the main contestants.

Bareilly: The BJP has replaced its eight-time MP Santosh Gangwar, who continuously won from 1989 till 2019, barring in 2009 when the Congress’ Praveen Aron defeated him by a thin margin. Chhatrapal Singh Gangwar is a BJP candidate who is pitted against Praveen Aron, now an SP candidate. The nomination of BSP candidate Chhotelal Gangwar was cancelled due to a technical glitch.

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