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Muzaffarnagar: Why This Minister Will Breathe Easy

By Archis Mohan
April 15, 2024 14:12 IST
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IMAGE: Dr Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, the Union minister of state for agriculture and food processing, campaigns in the villages of the Muzaffarnagar Lok Sabha constituency. Photograph: Dr Sanjeev Balyan/X

The 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Muzaffarnagar is remembered for the Bharatiya Janata Party's Sanjeev Kumar Balyan scraping past Rashtriya Lok Dal chief, the late Ajit Singh, by just 6,526 votes.

In the March 2022 assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP lost three of the five assembly seats that fall in the Muzaffarnagar Lok Sabha constituency to the Samajwadi Party-RLD alliance, and losing another in a by-poll later, which was sufficient reason for it to get the RLD, now headed by Jayant Chaudhary, within the fold of the National Democratic Alliance.

Awarding the Bharat Ratna to his grandfather, Chaudhary Charan Singh, a former prime minister and one of the tallest farmer leaders of independent India, among other factors, persuaded Jayant to ally with the BJP.

The communal riots in Muzaffarnagar in 2013 were a crucial factor in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

The riots fractured the Jat-Muslim social entente that Charan Singh had shaped in the 1960s and contributed to the religious polarisation in the region.

But the Lok Sabha contests in Muzaffarnagar are also remembered for the dominance of the Communist Party of India in the region. It won the seat in 1967, and in 1971, its candidate, Vijay Pal Singh, defeated Charan Singh, who was the candidate of the Bharatiya Kranti Dal and who by then had served two brief stints as the chief minister. The CPI had an alliance with the Congress.

In 1989, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, later to serve as India's home minister and Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, won the seat on a Janata Dal ticket.

For 2024, Balyan would expect an easier contest than five years ago when the RLD, SP, and Bahujan Samaj Party had an alliance. He will defend the seat that he won in 2014 and 2019 in a three-cornered contest, with the SP fielding Harendra Mallik.

Muzaffarnagar goes to the polls on Friday, April 19, 2024.

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Archis Mohan
Source: source
India Votes 2024

India Votes 2024