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Monday, Dec 16, 2019

Mathura Lok Sabha seat welcomes outsiders with open arms

Claiming to have visited her constituency for more than 250 times during her five-year term, Bollywood actress and sitting MP Hema Malini is yet again in the fray from Mathura.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Apr 05, 2019 09:46 IST
Hemendra Chaturvedi
Hemendra Chaturvedi
Hindustan Times, Agra
Hema Malini
Hema Malini(HT)
         

The parliamentary constituency of Mathura, which houses the twin religious cities of Mathura and Vrindavan, welcomes devotees from all over the world with open arms and is similarly affectionate with outsider politicians contesting elections from here.

Claiming to have visited her constituency for more than 250 times during her five-year term, Bollywood actress and sitting MP Hema Malini is yet again in the fray from Mathura.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, she had defeated RLD heavyweight and party vice-president Jayant Chaudhary.

For those coming from Delhi, Mathura is the gateway to most populous state of Uttar Pradesh. The birthplace of Lord Krishna, it has Gokul, Goverdhan, Barsana, Nandgaon and Baldev with many of these places enjoying pilgrimage status accorded by the present government.

At least 70 per cent population of Mathura lives in rural areas. A large part of 165-kilometre long Yamuna Expressway passes through Mathura. The district falls within Taj Trapezium Zone, the area earmarked around Taj Mahal for environment conservation but houses Mathura Refinery within.

CASTE EQUATIONS

The Jat community comprises about 20% of the population is but more localised in rural area. It holds the key to success. Other dominating castes are Thakurs, Brahmins, Scheduled Castes, and to some extent, Muslims and Vaishyas.

Considered to be the stronghold of Jat voters, the constituency had attracted even the family members of one of the most prominent Jat leader Chaudhary Charan Singh but proved not so lucky for them.

Gayatri Devi, wife of Chaudhary Charan Singh, lost election from Mathura in 1984 while his daughter Gyanvati Singh lost in 2004. On both the occasions, Congress candidate Manvendra Singh won the elections. Gayatri Devi had, however, won Gokul (now Baldev) assembly seat in 1974. As consolation, Jayant Chaudhary, the grandson of late Chaudhary Charan Singh, won from Mathura in 2009 parliamentary election.

Being the birthplace of Lord Krishna, Mathura, along with Ayodhya and Varanasi, has remained high on the agenda of right wing organisations.

BJP won the Mathura seat for the first time in 1991 when its candidate Sakshi Maharaj emerged victorious during the years of Ram Temple agitation. This was followed by three successive terms for BJP candidate Chaudhary Tejveer Singh.

Since Independence, the independent candidates have won thrice from Mathura while Congress has won from Mathura four times.

The BSP stood second in 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections. Samajwadi Party is yet to make its presence felt in Mathura, the city where the infamous Jawahar Bagh episode brought uncomfortable moments for it.

The first two candidates winning Lok Sabha elections from Mathura, Raja Giriraj Saran Singh in 1952 and Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh in 1957, were independents. The ever receptive religious city never had love lost for those coming from outside and contesting elections here.

Mani Ram Bagri of the Bharatiya Lok Dal won from Mathura in 1977 and Sakshi Maharaj won in 1991. RLD vice-president Jayant Chaudhary won the seat in 2009 but was defeated by another outsider Hema Malini in 2014.

Hema Malini will again try her luck claiming that she is no outsider and had visited her constituency and travelled from Mumbai more than 250 times in the last five years.

In the seat-sharing formula of alliance partners BSP-SP-RLD for 2019 Lok Sabha election, Mathura has come in the share of RLD but Jayant Chaudhary did not choose Mathura and moved to Baghpat.

While RLD looked for another candidate, its state president (west UP) Dr Anil Chaudhary resigned and joined the Congress.

Now, Kunwar Narendra Singh is the candidate for RLD while Congress has chosen Mahesh Pathak. Among the 13 candidates in the fray is Fakkad Baba who is contesting for the 17th time, and as always, he was the first to file nomination.

Dominating Issues

Pollution in Yamuna.

Sugar mill of Chhata.

Lack of industrialisation

Religious tourism infrastructure

Inclusion in the National Capital Region.

Pilgrimage status for Mathura city

Polling date: April 18

Voters: 17,86,189

2014 Lok Sabha election:

Hema Malini (BJP) 5,74,451 votes (53% vote share)

Jayant Chaudhary (RLD) 2,43,884 votes (30% vote share)

2009 Lok Sabha election

Jayant Chaudhary (RLD) 3,79,870 (52%)

Shyam Sunder Sharma (BSP) 2,10,257 (29%)

Assembly constituencies falling under Mathura Lok Sabha seat

Mathura city, Chhata, Mant, Goverdhan, Baldev