The IFFCO plant at Phulpur, Uttar Pradesh.(HT File)
The IFFCO plant at Phulpur, Uttar Pradesh.(HT File)

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Phulpur gave country 2 prime minsters, got only IFFCO as trophy

In past over seven decades, the Phulpur Lok Sabha constituency which gave the country two prime ministers --Jawahar Lal Nehru and VP Singh- has failed to witness any landmark development project come its way expect for a IFFCO fertilizer plant.
By Kenneth John | Hindustan Times, Prayagraj, Prayagraj
PUBLISHED ON MAY 12, 2019 08:54 AM IST

While the candidates fielded by the Congress have not won from Phulpur Lok Sabha seat since 1984, prior to it, the “high-profile” constituency was considered the strongest party bastion. In fact, seven out of the 19 parliamentary polls, including three by-polls, held since Independence, were won by Congress candidates.

Ram Pujan Patel was the last Congress man to have represented the party in Parliament from here.

Post 1984, the seat has been represented by candidates from political parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Lok Sabha Elections 2019 Phase 6 Voting: Follow live updates here

While the BSP represented it once, SP managed to win it for five times, including in the last by-poll in 2017, in which Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel managed to snatch the seat from BJP’s Keshav Prasad Maurya, who in 2014 polls won with the highest ever winning margin of 3,08,308 votes. The seat got vacant after Maurya quit it to become UP’s deputy chief minister.

The constituency having five assembly segments —Phaphamau, Soraon, Phulpur, Allahabad West and Allahabad North — have total electorate strength of 19,66,410. In past over seven decades, the constituency, expect for fertilizer giant IFFCO, has failed to witness any landmark development project come its way.

Glorious past

The parliamentary account of the constituency was opened by none other than country’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru who registered a hat-trick by clearing three successive Lok Sabha polls of 1952, 1957 and 1962. In 1962, Nehru defeated Ram Manohar Lohia with a margin over 50,000 votes.

Post his demise, his sister, Vijay Laxmi Pandit kept the legacy intact by registering a win in 1964 (by-poll) and 1967 Lok Sabha polls.

Also Read | Lok Sabha elections 2019: Phulpur constituency in Uttar Pradesh

In 1969, Janeshwar Mishra of Samyukta Socialist Party won the by-poll in Phulpur defeating Congress candidate KD Malviya with a margin of over 20,000 votes making the constituency get a non-Congress MP for the first time.

Apart from Nehru, Phulpur has also been represented by another Prime Minister - VP Singh. In 1971 general elections, Singh, a Congress candidate defeated BD Singh of the Bharatiya Kranti Dal.

Between 1989 and 1996, the constituency was represented by Janata Dal candidates. Ram Pujan Patel, who first registered a win in the constituency on a Congress ticket in 1984 subsequently, retained the seat as a Janata Dal candidate between 1989 and 1996.

From 1980 to 2004, Phulpur emerged as a stronghold of Patel community. It got reflected in BD Singh’s win in 1980. It was followed by Ram Pujan Patel winning Phulpur on three successive occasions followed by Samajwadi Party’s Jang Bahadur Patel defeating Kanshi Ram of the Bahujan Samaj Party in 1996.

Jang Bahadur Patel retained Phulpur in 1998 general elections. In 1990 general elections, Dharmraj Patel of Samajwadi Party defeated Beni Madhav Bind of the BJP.

However, in the 2004 elections, the then Samajwadi Party candidate Atiq Ahmed took over the constituency as its 16th MP.

Further in 2009, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Kapil Muni Kanwariya defeated SP candidate Shyama Charan Gupta with a margin of around 15,000 votes.

However, in 2014 Modi wave Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate Keshav Prasad Maurya in his maiden attempt for Lok Sabha defeated Dharmraj Patel of the Samajwadi Party with a record margin of over 3 lakh votes.

Present status

Amid demand for fielding Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi, the party has fielding a novice in politics Pankaj Niranjan, son-in-law of Krishna Patel, president of its ally Apna Dal (Krishna faction).

Niranjan has been fielded in view of over 3 lakh Patel votes and the contest would be interesting to watch as there are alleged reports of infighting in the BJP with party strongman Keshav Prasad Maurya remaining a disgruntled lot over his wife and son being ignored for the ticket.

“Phulpur is one of the most neglected places in state as after Pandit Nehru none of the elected representatives did anything for this place,” said Mohammed Naseem, 61, a farmer and resident of Dokhri village in Soraon tehsil of the constituency.

“I have voted for almost all parties but failed to see its benefit. In 2014, I voted for the BJP but the MP Keshav Prasad Maurya who won with a record margin quit midway just to become a deputy CM. The SP MP Nagendra Patel is yet to visit Soraon belt. What should we expect from these parties with no commitment for our welfare,” he said.

Ramji Pandey, 65, another farmer of the constituency said that it was Pandit Nehru who brought the fertilizer giant IFFCO to Phulpur, after which nothing in the name of industrial development has come the Phulpur way.

“MPs from the SP, BSP and BJP came, promised and disappeared after winning the elections. It was the Congress MP Ram Pujan Patel who after winning election in 1984 got Soraon and Phaphamau assembly constituencies declared as Potato and Aonla producing belts during the government of former PM Rajiv Gandhi, but the initiative failed to bear fruit,” he said.

Assembly constituencies

The constituency has two out of five assembly constituencies in city limits with the Allahabad North assembly constituency having 4,13,478 voters (as of 2018 poll data) largely comprises of intellectuals as the constituency has several premier educational institutions like the Allahabad University (AU), Moti Lal Nehru Medical College (MLNMC), Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology (MNNIT), Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), etc.

According to political analyst Abhay Awasthi, the choice of electorate would be a candidate of an established party. “The BJP has not done any extraordinary work and the electorate does not seem to be inclined towards ‘Abki Baar Modi Sarkar’. Now after a period of over three decades, Congress could see a ray of hope after party general secretary launching the three-day Ganga tour from Anand Bhawan and Sangam, both in Phulpur constituency. Seeing the over 1.5 lakh Kewat (fishermen) votes, Gandhi held a meeting with hundreds of members of the community in Dumduma, also present in the same constituency,” he added.

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