In contest of 30s, BJP bags Azamgarh, drawing 1978 parallel


Photo Credit Twitter Dinesh Lal Yadav 'Nirahua'

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, June 26: In 20 elections, including bypolls, since 1952 for the Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat, the Bharatiya Janata Party has won the constituency only twice, which includes the Sunday victory by the Bhojpuri singer Dinesh Lal Yadav ‘Nirahua’.

Nirahua proved a giant killer in the Azamgarh Lok Sabha bypoll, defeating the Samajwadi Party’s Dharmendra Yadav by over 14,000 votes.

The Sunday win for the BJP from Azamgarh, which is seen to be a barometer of the Muslim and Yadav vote base chemistry in Uttar Pradesh, may signal party’s electoral domination in the state in the coming years, while drawing a parallel from the 1978 victory of the Congress from the same seat.

In 1978 also there was a bypoll for the Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat after Ram Naresh Yadav had vacated the constituency. He had become the Chief Minister of UP after the Janata Party had swept the Assembly polls held after the 1977 general elections.

For the BJP in 2022, Azamgarh stood as the last citadel of the Muslim-Yadav vote base, immune from the party’s electoral juggernaut. The constituency with over 60 per cent Muslim and Yadav voters had welcomed the BJP only once in past, when the party’s Rama Kant Yadav, an import from the Samajwadi Party, had won.

Azamgarh in the last 20 elections has elected the Congress candidate only thrice, remaining the bastion of the socialist parties all along.

The 2019 general election was for the 17th Lok Sabha.

In 1977, the Congress couldn’t win even one seat out of the 85 in UP, which then also had Uttarakhand’s five constituencies.

Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1978 had begun publicly accepting the mistake in imposing the Emergency, which was declared on June 25 in 1975.

She had fielded Mohsina Kidwai, who hailed from the Barabanki district in the state.

The Janata Party regime at the Centre and the state, say old timers, were determined not to let Indira Gandhi find any space, and she faced hassles in leading the campaign in the constituency.

But she was beginning to make amends to her mistakes, and wanted the people to forget the Emergency excesses.

When denied stay in a guest house, Indira Gandhi stayed at a temple overnight in Azamgarh, and that event turned around the seat for the Congress, helping Mohsina Kidwai win the election.

That victory was against the full state power against her.

Nirahua, riding on the bandwagon of the state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, stormed the citadel, which always rejected the BJP, while being the electoral university of the socialism.

This was possible because the BJP, the SP and the Bahujan samaj Party polled their votes in the 30s.

The BJP bagged 34.42 per cent vote share in the bypoll. The SP lagged behind with 33.11 per cent vote share. The BSP polled 29.55 per cent.

The SP’s Dharmendra Yadav may blame the BSP’s Shah Alam alias Guddu Jamali for letting the BJP sneak in the socialist fort, which was vacated by the former state Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav after winning the 2019 general election from Azamgarh seat.

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