Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav is seeking re-election from Mainpuri in the Agra division in Uttar Pradesh on May 7. Three things clearly work to his advantage — a huge Yadav population, a perception that he had helped develop the area and his national stature.
In 2004, Mulayam, 69, won from here with a huge margin — polling 64 per cent of the votes cast.
“There used to be power supply for 24 hours here when Mulayam was chief minister. Now, the supply is for hardly 10-12 hours. He also built bridges and built roads,” says PP Chauhan, a local shopkeeper.
But, all is not hunky-dory this time.
A section of voters are not too happy with Mulayam’s alliance with former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kalyan Singh, who was chief minister during the Babri mosque demolition in 1992.
Also, there is a popular perception that Muslim leaders, like Azam Khan, are being sidelined in the party
“We will vote for him here. But Muslims in Uttar Pradesh are hurt,” said Mohammad Aslam, a local schoolteacher.
The population arithmetic in Mainpuri has become quite interesting after delimitation. Of the total population of 13-14 lakh, Yadav votes are estimated at three lakh, a secured chunk for Mulayam.
But for the two lakh votes of Shakyas, or Kachhis, a backward caste, there are two claimants — Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) Vinay Shakya and BJP’s Tripti Shakya. Any division in this chunk will make it easier for Mulayam.
Another crucial aspect for Mulayam is the inclusion of Bhogaon in the constituency after delimitation. There are about 60,000 Lodh Rajputs at Bhogaon, taking their strength in Mainpuri to 70,000.”
At a recent meeting here, Kalyan Singh, who represents Lodh Rajputs, said, “My friendship with Mulayam will lead to social and political changes.”
The message is clear: Yadavs and Lodhs, will join hands to beat the BSP.