UP polls 2017: What next for Samajwadi Party, voters wonder in twin bastions of Etawah and Mainpuri

Mainpuri and Etawah are part of central UP, which has the largest presence of OBCs in the state.

Written by Ishita Mishra | Etawah/mainpuri | Updated: February 17, 2017 11:01 am
uttar pradesh election, mainpuri, etawah, akhilesh yadav, up polls akhilesh, samajwadi party, up assembly elections samajwadi party, mulayam singh yadav, shivpal up elections, india news, indian express news Akhilesh Yadav addresses one of a series of rallies in Etawah and Mainpuri; he covered all seats in that belt except Shivpal Yadav’s Jaswantnagar. (Express Photo)

For years, Etawah and Mainpuri has been known as twin family bastions of the Samajwadi Party. Now with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav saying he is confident about one but unsure about the other, voters are reading it as an acknowledgment of a divide between the bastions too. Chand Singh Yadav, 76, is in the audience in Karhal when Akhilesh makes the speech. “This belt was a strong bastion of the SP under Mulayam Singh Yadav. Over the years it has also become the bastion of Mulayam’s brother Shivpal, who nurtured the region and built his hold on the party,” the old-timer says. “But now Akhilesh is the king of the Samajwadi Party and this king has too many fights to win, including against his own relatives. I may vote for the cycle this time, too, but I am doubtful about the party’s future.”

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At Barthana in Etawah, Akhilesh says, “I know the matter is different in Etawah. Here the Samajwadis’ fight is against the Samajwadis themselves.” “It was disappointing to hear that the Mukhyamantri lacks faith in Etawah but has it in Mainpuri,” says Balwant Shakya of Bharthana, who says he heard the speech on television. He says he might have voted for the SP but, after that speech, he has decided to go with the BJP. Mainpuri has three assembly seats, Etawah three.The two districts vote Sunday.

Mainpuri and Etawah are part of central UP, which has the largest presence of OBCs in the state. There is also a sizeable Dalit population, and certain pockets of upper-caste dominance. Dominant among the backward classes are Yadavs, followed by Lodhis and Shakyas. In 2012, the Samajwadi Party has won 55 of the 69 seats that are this time voting in the third phase. In the twin bastions, the BJP has been trying to ensure the family feud remains in the public spotlight. It has created slogans such as “Jo beta baap ka na hua, wo tumhara kya hoga”, using these to address OBCs. The BSP too has been raking up the SP family feud, describing it as “Mahabharata” and criticising Akhilesh for alleged “injustice” to Shivpal and Mulayam. Mayawati had inducted key Shivpal aides such as Narad Rai and Ambika Chowdhry.

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“The family feud is definitely at play,” says Sanjay Singh Shakya of Mainpuri Sadar. “The resentment among a section of Yadavs is not only about the perceived insult to Mulayam, but also about Akhilesh denying tickets to big leaders such as Raghuraj Shakya of Etawah, and Pramod Gupta of Bidhuna. Those who missed out will obviously take revenge.” Mulayam has chosen to campaign only for Shivpal in this belt, while Akhilesh covered six of the seven seats Thursday, excluding only Shivpal’s Jaswantnagar. Even there, though, Akhilesh has supporters. “I will vote for Akhilesh Yadav,” says Kuwari, who is in her 50s. She laughs at the reminder that Akhilesh is not the candidate. “Are, woi to chunav lad rahe.”

“Dadi,” her grandson says, “it’s Shivpal who is contesting. Kuwari rebukes him with a pat on the head: “Pagla ho gaye ho kya. Shivpal to Mulayam k bhai hain. Chunav to Akhilesh lad rahe hain.” At Bhogaon, Bhajan Singh Rajpute sees no future for the SP and will vote for the BJP instead. “Don’t forget, the Congress got decimated after ruling the country for decades. These days, no party can take anything for granted,” he says.

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    Atish Bakshi
    Feb 17, 2017 at 2:23 am
    I fail to understant why these gujrati duo ( modi and amit shah)is blaming U p ? They are bringing disrepute to every person living in U p just as they did to biharis. Ye log u p ka apmaan kar rahe hai. Puri duniya ko ye log bata rahe hai ki u p ke log gunde hai. Itna bada U P ka apmaan kisi ne nahi kiya. Why this gujjus want to rule the Up?
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      Arindam Chakrabarty
      Feb 17, 2017 at 4:37 am
      I wonder about the wisdom of the voters who keep on electing regressive,castiest corrupt party whose only aim is to loot public money for the family running it and keep the state backward,one can see the terrible dirt tracks which p for the road,abject poverty,absymml health system and ramshacle schools,with no electricity,no employment opportunity ,horrible law and order and yet the voters dont see or fix the responsiblity on the people they elect,all they are bothered about is cast,in fact some of the voters praise Akhilesh for "unforseen development"God alone knows what they see as development.lt;br/gt;At such times I see no hope for the country.
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        axkar
        Feb 17, 2017 at 4:18 am
        All the dynasty based political parties, SaPa, BaSaPa, KonGrest, are disintigrate the UNITY of the nation in the name of caste, religion, creed etc. Even they don't respect the father of Indian consution, which shows that they are very lazy, don't do hard work . For them its a njoyment but for the country its a national threat not only internal but also external. lt;br/gt;As a citizen of the country alteast we should adapt the work culture of honorable PM i.e discipline, no dirty talks, no drinking, no womans, only work and it leads to the development of an indivdiual. I think this is what our PM try to teach us.
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          axkar
          Feb 17, 2017 at 4:21 am
          Division would only give sorrow, misery , trouble , victimisinglt;br/gt;UNITY --gt; gives true happiness of development, Integration with one another.lt;br/gt;SO citizen of UP should remain UNITE and dethrone the SaPa, BaSaPa, KonGrest, and other Fox who have joined such corrput parties.
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            axkar
            Feb 17, 2017 at 4:09 am
            The citizen of state / nation shall what is the law and order in UP, the womans are dragged from their cars and get rapped. If the citizen of UP need to continue such crusaders they definitely elect the current state govt. and if they need the path of development , swabhimaan then they move for MODI govt.
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              axkar
              Feb 17, 2017 at 4:02 am
              we are very fortunate to have such PM which not only uphold his promise to save the honest but the w country which are infuse with bhedia (fox) like people take shelter in different corrupt parties .... lt;br/gt;The true indian cizen shall gets unite and eradicate the dynasty based politics bhai, bhatija, bhabi, bua , chaha
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                Mahender Goriganti
                Feb 17, 2017 at 1:44 am
                Watch out Hindustani (all non Sunni Muslims including Hindus and others pay attention to what is happening in Porkistan and all over Middle east; even the non sunni are not safe and slaughtered by Jihadi every day. As to Hindus (no matter what cast they are) they are Kafirs and is legitimate to kill them under Islamic laws. lt;br/gt;Think before you vote no matter what you belong to including non Sunni Muslims.
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                  sikandar
                  Feb 17, 2017 at 4:26 am
                  The election in UP is turning point of development , whether they want to grow up like prosperous state like Gujarat, Maharashtra or being getting vitimised by dynasty politics from chacha, bhatija, bhaiya, bua, bibi, bhabi etc. These akilish govt is saviour of their own KUNBA not for other.lt;br/gt;Elect and follow the path of Shri Narendra Modi for development of own and state
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                    Surya Prakasam
                    Feb 17, 2017 at 3:46 am
                    Divide UP into five states.Then only it will prosper.
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