Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Rae Bareli, Kaiserganj Await Candidates As Political Parties Keep Cards Close To Their Chests

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Rae Bareli, Kaiserganj Await Candidates As Political Parties Keep Cards Close To Their Chests

The BJP has already declared candidates for 73 out of the 75 seats it is contesting, while the SP has announced candidates for 61 out of its 63 contested seats. Apart from Kaiserganj, the Samajwadi Party is yet to announce its candidate for Kannauj.

BISWAJEET BANERJEEUpdated: Saturday, April 20, 2024, 07:47 AM IST
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UP Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | PTI

As the first phase of polling begins in Uttar Pradesh, the constituencies of Rae Bareli and Kaiserganj find themselves in an unusual situation – major political parties have yet to declare their candidates for these crucial seats.

"This is unprecedented. I cannot recall a time when major political parties refrained from announcing candidates for any constituency, instead waiting for each other to make the first move. It feels like an intense game of chess, with each party strategizing and waiting for the other to take the lead," remarked Nomita P Kumar from the Giri Institute of Development Studies in Lucknow.

"It is common to hear about a political party not fielding a candidate from a particular seat, but the absence of candidate declarations from any party is unprecedented," she said, adding humorously, "It seems like they've collectively decided to boycott those constituencies."

The BJP has already declared candidates for 73 out of the 75 seats it is contesting, while the SP has announced candidates for 61 out of its 63 contested seats. Apart from Kaiserganj, the Samajwadi Party is yet to announce its candidate for Kannauj.

SP and Congress have formed an alliance to contest the UP election. The SP is fielding candidates in 63 seats, while Congress is contesting 17. Congress is set to contest Rae Bareli and Amethi but has not yet announced candidates for either seat.

Meanwhile, the BSP is yet to announce candidates for 35 constituencies, including Rae Bareli and Kaiserganj.

Political analyst Prabha Sankar highlighted that the primary reason for the delay is that all political parties are waiting for each other to declare their candidates. There is speculation surrounding the potential candidacy of Priyanka Gandhi from Rae Bareli and Rahul Gandhi from Amethi, as desired by local Congress leaders who advocate for the Gandhi family's presence in both constituencies. Sankar added, "The BJP and BSP are awaiting clarity before announcing their candidates."

Rae Bareli: A Legacy in Limbo

Rae Bareli, synonymous with the political legacy of the Gandhi family, finds itself at a critical juncture following Sonia Gandhi's nomination to the Rajya Sabha. With Sonia Gandhi's departure, the Congress is yet to name a successor for the five-time MP from Rae Bareli, leaving the seat open to speculation.

The historical dominance of Congress in Rae Bareli faces a significant test amidst evolving political dynamics. The constituency's diverse population, including significant Brahmin, Thakur, Yadav, and Muslim communities, underscores its complexity. However, the absence of a clear candidate raises questions about the party's strategy to maintain its stronghold.

Similarly, the BJP has maintained silence regarding its candidate selection for this crucial constituency. Speculation within the BJP suggests that former SP MLA Manoj Pandey could emerge as a contender in Rae Bareli. Pandey's history of defying the SP and supporting the BJP in the last Rajya Sabha election, along with six other SP lawmakers, adds an intriguing dimension to the electoral landscape.

Political experts suggest that Congress may be adopting a wait-and-watch approach, considering the extended timeline for nominations and the forthcoming campaign commitments of Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi. Meanwhile, the BJP views Rae Bareli as a coveted prize and is strategizing its approach following the Congress's candidate announcement.

Kaiserganj: Political Maneuvering in Motion

The political chessboard sees a similar stalemate in Kaiserganj, where BJP, SP, and BSP are yet to announce their contenders. The Lok Sabha seat, in the Devipatan region, currently held by BJP's Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, awaits a decisive move from the political players.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is grappling with a challenging situation regarding the candidature of sitting MP from Kaiserganj, Brij Bhushan Saran Singh, who is facing charges of sexual harassment from women wrestlers.

A senior BJP leader disclosed that the party's top brass has urged Singh to withdraw his claim, emphasizing the readiness to nominate his wife, Ketaki Devi Singh, as the candidate from Kaiserganj. “The BJP leadership is in dilemma otherwise Brij Bhushan’s candidature would have been announced by now. His name is always in the first list,” the leader said.

With Singh's influence extending across at least four neighboring Lok Sabha seats, BJP treads cautiously. The SP and BSP are also waiting to see whom the BJP fields. If BJP does not field Brij Bhushan Saran Singh, SP might ask him to contest on its ticket.

When asked about his ticket, Brij Bhushan Saran Singh said: “Hoi wahi jo Ram rachi Raakha,” (God’s wish will prevail).

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