|HOME | ELECTION | REPORT|
|September 16, 1999||
Mulayam has it easy in Kannauj
It may be smooth sailing for former defence minister and Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav in Kannauj. The Bharatiya Janata Party has not fielded any candidate here and is supporting a Mulayam Singh 'disciple', Arvind Pratap Singh, the candidate of it's ally, the Loktantrik Congress Party.
Arvind Pratap Singh contested the 1998 election on the Samajwadi Party ticket from neighbouring Farrukhabad and came in second. He has also been an MLA from Umarda in the Kannauj Lok Sabha constituency.
Kannauj was also a battleground for Yadav's guru, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia.
Although Congress candidate Digvijay Narain Singh and the Bahujan Samaj Party's Sudhar Pal Singh are also in the fray, the contest here seems to be only between the Samajwadi Party and the LCP candidate.
Singh is a member of the royal family of the erstwhile Tirwa state and is contesting the election for the first time.
Yadav is contesting from Sambhal and Kannauj. While he has tried to ensure his victory in the Yadav- and Lodh-dominated constituency, he has also put the BJP in a tight spot in the Lok Sabha constituencies of Etawah, Farrukhabad, Mainpuri, Ferozabad, Etah and Jalesar by contesting from here.
Swami Sachchidananad Sakshi, the BJP MP from Farrukhabad for the last two terms, was not given a party ticket this time. He has started to campaign for the Samajwadi Party which could get the Lodh votes in favour of Mulayam Singh instead of the BJP although Chief Minister Kalyan Singh is a member of the Lodh community himself.
Mulayam Singh says he decided to contest from Sambhal to avoid any attempts by his rivals to create a disturbance to get elections postponed. He also maintains that his contesting from Kannauj would improve the party prospects in the neighbouring constituencies. On being asked which seat he would give up in case of being elected from both the constituencies, he replied, "Wherever I win by a better margin.''
Yadav had won the 1996 election from Mainpuri but in 1998 he contested from Sambhal and won.
Samajwadi Party's Kannauj unit vice-president Vijay Mishra claimed that the BJP's decision not to contest from here indicated his party would win.
While his protege there won by a margin of 42,000 votes in the last election, Mulayam Singh himself would register a margin of over 150,000 votes this time, he said. Pradeep Yadav of the Samajwadi Party had secured 42 per cent votes in the last elections. Chhote Singh Yadav, the party MLA had won from here in 1980, 1989 and 1991, while the BJP has won this seat only once -- in 1996. That BJP candidate is now a Samajwadi party nominee from Farrukhabad.
Some BJP supporters here do not approve of the party's decision to leave the seat to the LCP. They feel the party should have fielded a strong candidate especially since Mulayam Singh is contesting. BJP MLA from Kannauj, Banwari Lal Dohre, however, supports the party decision. He says Arvind Pratap Singh is the joint candidate of the LCP and the BJP.
Thus, the BJP and its allies have joined hands in their attempts to defeat Mulayam Singh. He scoffed at the view that Sachchidanand Sakshi campaigning for Mulayam Singh would cause a shift in the Lodh votes.
He, however, felt the LCP candidate could have contested on the BJP symbol because it was a little difficult to garner votes for the unfamiliar LCP symbol -- a chair.
BSP candidate Sudhar Pal Singh hopes to corner the votes from the dalits and the backward classes and hopes to profit from the fact that Kannauj was declared a district when Mayawati was the chief minister.
Digvijay Narain Singh of the Congress claimed the party's traditional voters -- Muslims and minorities -- had returned to the party. He also pointed out that Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dixit had won this seat in 1984. Yet district party spokesman Anil Kumar Tewari said no senior party leader had come for campaigning in the constituency.
Kannauj became a Lok Sabha constituency in 1967 while a district of that name was announced in 1997. While three Vidhan Sabha constituencies in the district -- Kannauj city, Umarda and Chhibramau -- are parts of Kannauj district, the other two assembly segments -- Bharthana and Vidhuna -- fall under Etawah, Yadav's home turf.
While Chhibramau, Bharthana and Vidhuna are represented in the Vidhan Sabha by the Samajwadi Party, the other two are represented by the BJP. Vidhuna MLA Dhani Ram Varma is the leader of the opposition in the Vidhan Sabha.
Of the 16 candidates in the fray in the constituency, 11 are independents who, as the general understanding goes, are various party candidates for their own convenience. There is only one Muslim candidate -- Ausaf Vasi -- while no woman is in the fray in the constituency. Of the total 1,176,271 voters, an estimated 23 per cent are from the scheduled castes, 10 per cent are brahmins, 11 per cer cent are Yadavs, nine per cent are Lodhs, seven per cent are Rajput Thakurs, 10 per cent are Muslims. The rest are Shakyas, Kurmis, Vaishyas and Kayasthas.
ELECTION 99 |
SINGLES | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | HOTEL RESERVATIONS | WORLD CUP 99
EDUCATION | PERSONAL HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | FEEDBACK