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BALLIA

The political base of former premier and Samajwadi Janata Party chief Chandra Shekhar for decades, the Ballia constituency has sent him to Parliament for five times in succession.

india Updated: Apr 19, 2004 15:19 IST

The political base of former premier and Samajwadi Janata Party chief Chandra Shekhar for decades, the Ballia constituency has sent him to Parliament for five times in succession.

Although steeped in poverty and sharply divided in Brahmin and backward castes, this predominantly rural constituency of more than 13.50 lakh voters seems to have fallen in eternal love with this great survivor of Indian politics.

Deeply seated in local psyche, the "Bhondisi saint" Chandra Shekhar looks "invincible" here. He had drubbed Ram Krishna of BJP by 55,675 votes in a 10-cornered contest to enter Lok Sabha for the seventh time in succession in 1999.

Shekhar made his electoral debut from here in 1977 on BLD ticket and won easily. He retained the seat in 1980, defeating Congress' Jagannath Chaudhary but failed to withstand Rajiv wave of 1984 and lost to him. But since 1989, he has stood like a rock here, inflicting big hat-trick defeats on Chaudhary -- last in 1996 by 187,000 votes. the margins were 58548 and 90981 in 1991 and 1989 votes respectively.

However, in 1998 his record of victory margins took a beating when he defeated his nearest rival, BJP' Mishra by just over 29,000 votes.

Assembly segments

Of the five assembly segments falling under the Ballia constituency, Ballia and Dwaba are held by the BJP while Uttar Pradesh minister and Loktantrik Congress Party leader Bacha Pathak holds Bansdih. The Samajwadi Party has Kopachit while Mr Chhotelal Rajak of BSP is MLA from another assembly constituency — Chilkahar.

Development

Despite being Chandra Shekhar's constituency, Ballia suffers from chronic underdevelopment. Lack of industrialisation has caused serious problems of unemployment and poverty.

But, all said and done, Chandra Shekhar sits pretty here with even the young favouring him now. Active participation of Ballia's social and political leaders in the national movement and the famous 'Ballia uprising' in 1942 are still fresh in the minds of the people.

First Published: Mar 26, 2004 14:41 IST