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Will star power save Jan Morcha in Agra?
Sunil Gatade in Agra | March 28, 2007 13:45 IST
V P Singh-led Jan Morcha faces an uphill task in the home district of its chief Raj Babbar with the city of Taj giving a run for its money to its candidates in the assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh early next month.
Same is the case of the Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal in this district of western UP in the assembly polls seen as the biggest electoral battle of 2007.
Congress looks in no better positioned despite the Sonia Gandhi-led party desperately attempting its revival in the Hindi heartland.
Despite Babbar being the local parliamentarian, he has failed to set Yamuna on fire and leaders from Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party as also the Baharatiya Janata Party dubbed the party of the suspended SP leader as an 'also-ran.'
Same could be the situation of RLD this time as the party is going it alone in the polls after being virtually dumped both by the Jan Morcha and the Congress with whom it was trying for an alliance. This is because last time the RLD had a tie-up with BJP in the assembly polls and the saffron party claims that its support had caused all the difference.
Though Babbar has been winning the Agra Lok Sabha seat from 1999 on SP ticket, he has not succeeded in making inroads for the SP in the assembly. The 2002 polls had seen the SP drawing a blank in the nine constituencies from the district with the BJP laughing its way to the winning post in most of the seats along with its then alliance partner RLD.
The district SP chief Ram Sakal Gujar, a close associate of Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, claims that Babbar has been successful so far because of the SP and not because of his own work.
"Babbar has even failed to find candidates for six seats from the district despite making tall claims about his leadership ability," he said.
Agra and several constituencies in the adjoining districts of western UP as also in central UP are among the 62 seats, which go to polls in the first phase of assembly elections on April 7. It will be a seven-phased poll for the 403 assembly seats in the state.
The first phase will also cover Bharthana from Etawah district from where Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav is the candidate.
Etawah district is a known stronghold of the Samajwadi Party and is the district from which the SP supremo hails. His brother Shivpal Singh Yadav is also contesting from Jaswant Nagar constituency of the same district.
With the Election Commission taking several measures to ensure free and fair polls, the campaigning here appears to be low-key for want of posters, banners, hoardings and flags of the contesting parties.
The BSP and the BJP claim that they are the main rivals in the district and adjoining areas as they say that the ruling Samajwadi Party has lost much ground due to 'misrule' of Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Their campaign is aimed at projecting Yadav's rule as one which had taken Uttar Pradesh to its lowest ebb in the matters of administration, law and order and corruption.
The serial killings at Nithari are being highlighted by the political detractors of Yadav in their attempt to gain support of the people.
While SP general secretary Amar Singh and suspended Congress leader Natwar Singh have toured to canvas support for the SP, former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani was here earlier this week.BSP supremo Mayawati would visit the city this week. Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi are also expected to follow. The SP and the BSP are calling the shots in UP politics for the last several years despite being regional parties.
The BJP and the Congress are playing a second fiddle to them. The Congress is in political wilderness in the state since 1989.