From the seat Kalyan Singh won as a Bharatiya Jan Sangh candidate in 1967, his grandson Sandeep Singh is set to make his political debut. Atrauli, one of the seven assembly seats of Aligarh district, has remained a family borough these four decades with occasional breaks. Sandeep, 25, will be contesting a seat his grandfather won eight times and lost twice – first on his debut in 1962, then during a Congress wave in the 1980s. This was the seat Kalyan Singh represented during both his stints as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. In 2004, he vacated it after winning the Lok Sabha election from Bulandshahr. The seat then went to Sandeep’s mother Premlata who won it in a byelection.
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Premlata lost the seat to the Samajwadi Party in 2012, only the second defeat for the family since Kalyan first won it in 1967. In 2012, she was a candidate of Jan Kranti Party (Rashtrawadi) founded by Kalyan, who had broken away from the BJP, before merging his party into the BJP in 2014. “It is a huge responsibility that has been given to me to continue the legacy of Babuji. This is my first election,” Sandeep told The Indian Express over phone. He said he has started meeting people in the area. Atrauli votes on February 11.
Sandeep Singh said he returned from the UK last year after an MA in public relations from Leeds University. He is a commerce graduate from Khalsa College of Delhi University. He has a younger brother, Saurabh, and two younger sisters, Poornima and Shweta. “In elections earlier, the family used to get guidance from Babuji but now that he is governor [of Rajasthan], we will have to manage our campaign without him,” Sandeep said.