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Kasganj, where one person died in communal clashes on Friday, and violence was reported on Saturday, lies in an area of near-total domination of agrarian communities — Lodh-Rajputs, Kachhi (Shakya) and Yadavs, all OBC communities — along with a significant presence of people from the minority community.
Such has been the control of the agrarian community in the area that a Lodh-Rajput candidate has won every election from Kasganj Assembly segment since 1977, barring 2007 state elections when Hasratullah Shervani of the BSP was elected.
While the then Mayawati-led BSP government had carved out a separate district from Etah in 2008 and named the new district Kanshiram Nagar — the Samajwadi Party (SP) government of Akhilesh Yadav renamed it Kasganj in 2012 — Kasganj town, where the incidents of communal violence has been reported from, comes under Etah Lok Sabha constituency.
Barring 1980 and 1984, Etah has sent a candidate from either of the three OBC communities to Lok Sabha in every election since 1977: Mahadeepak Singh Shakya (1977, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998), Devendra Singh Yadav (1999, 2004), Kalyan Singh (2009), and his son Rajveer (2014). Rajveer, the present MP from Etah, was in attendance at today’s funeral of Abhishek Gupta, who died in Friday’s firing.
While Mahadeepak is from Kachhi community, Devendra comes from Yadav and the father-son Singh duo from the Lodh community, reflecting the political grip of these three agrarian communities in and around the area.
The two exceptions were Pyarey Miyan of Lok Dal in 1984 — he won against the odds, when Congress swept the then undivided UP after Indira Gandhi’s assassination, winning 83 of 85 seats; Lok Dal chief Charan Singh won the other seat — and Congress’s Malik Mohammad Mishir Khan in 1980.
Former UP CM Kalyan Singh was elected to the Assembly from Kasganj in 1993, the elections soon after the demolition of the Babri Masjid — Singh was the CM when the mosque was razed the year before. Singh, however, resigned from Kasganj while retaining his membership from Atrauli.
While BJP won Etah Lok Sabha seat in four consecutive elections between 1989 and 1998, and again in 2014, the party won Kasganj Assembly seat in 1991, 1993, 1996 and 2017.
Although Mayawati carved out Kasganj as Kanshiram district, comprising the Assembly segments of Amapur, Patiyali and Kasganj, the party did not reap the political benefits even in the state elections immediately afterward: in 2012, SP won Kasganj and Patiyali, the BSP bagged only Amapur in 2012.
In 2017, the BJP swept the seats, ahead of SP candidates in all three seats.