Hardoi (Uttar Pradesh) : Since 1989, the Agrawals – father Naresh and son Nitin – of Samajwadi Party have never lost any election from Hardoi constituency, a key seat in central Uttar Pradesh which is also the ancestral home district of Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan.
But Sunday’s election does not appear to be easy to the two leaders. The BJP is making a determined effort to cut into the influence of Agrawals in Hardoi constituency and other seven seats in the district; the Bahujan Samaj Party is also making efforts to build on its committed voter base.
Naresh Agrawal has won Hardoi seat seven times. His son Nitin Agrawal, who won the 2012 polls as Samajwadi Party candidate, is in the fray again and is facing a challenge from Raja Bux Singh of Bharatiya Janata Party and Dharmveer Singh of Bahujan Samaj Party.
Regarded as a citadel of Agrawals, more than that of Samajwadi Party, Hardoi will vote in the third phase of Uttar Pradesh elections to 69 seats on Sunday. The result is likely to have an impact on the political future of Nitin as well as his father, who sided with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in the family feud of UP’s ruling Samajwadi Party.
The Agrawals are leaving nothing to chance with their prestige at stake and have organised a public meeting of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, as also a big road show. They have also held rallies and done door-to-door canvassing across the semi-urban seat.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a rally here on Thursday to improve prospects of BJP candidates on all eight seats in the district. Modi said the rally had four times as many people compared to his rally here in 2014.
Locals said that the fight in Hardoi was mainly between the SP and BJP, with many giving the state’s ruling party a slight edge.
Dheerendra Singh, a farmer in Hardoi, said that Nitin Agarwal will get a good share of minority community vote and the SP’s alliance with Congress will also help him.
“Nitin will also get a good share of votes from the Dalit community which will further brighten his prospects,” Dheerendra Singh told IANS. He said that about one lakh of total 3.4 lakh voters in Hardoi seat belonged to the Dalit community and around 33, 000 voters were from the main minority community.
Hardoi has been a traditional seat of the Agrawals since 1974. Naresh Agarwal’s father Shrish Chandra Agrawal contested the seat in 1974 as Congress candidate.
Naresh Agrawal has fought seven elections from the seat since 1980 and never lost. He fought in 1980 from Congress and in 1989 as an independent. He returned to Congress and fought the polls in 1991, 1993, 1996. In 2002 and 2007, he fought the polls as a Samajwadi Party nominee. —IANS