LS Polls: In SP Bastion Mainpuri, It's 'Modi Ki Guarantee' Vs Mulayam's Legacy

Around 220 km from the state capital Lucknow, Mainpuri is a pocket borough of the SP with the party retaining the seat for nearly three decades.

The fight between 'Modi ki guarantee' and Mulayam's legacy

Even as a BJP wave swept through Uttar Pradesh in the last general elections, the Mainpuri constituency elected Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. With the saffron party determined to conquer the SP citadel this time, the fight is between 'Modi ki guarantee' and Mulayam's legacy.

Around 220 km from the state capital Lucknow, Mainpuri is a pocket borough of the SP with the party retaining the seat for nearly three decades. It was among the five seats that the SP won in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, which it had fought in an alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

After the death of SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav in 2022, his daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav bagged the seat in a bypoll. Toiling hard to retain the seat, Dimple Yadav is pinning her hopes on the work done by the veteran SP leader, while reminding people at election meetings that her sole aim is to carry forward "Mulayam Singh's legacy" by following in his footsteps.

Dressed in a saree, Dimple Yadav can be seen canvassing in the constituency. Her daughter Aditi Yadav is campaigning separately for her mother.

"People want change... they are voting for change this time. Due to the 'dabav ki rajneeti' (pressure politics) of the BJP, every section of society is fed up. The people are facing harassment at all levels," Dimple Yadav, the wife of SP president Akhilesh Yadav, told PTI earlier.

During Dimple Yadav's filing of nomination papers from Mainpuri, a seat that she has been representing since 2022, the Yadav family unity was on display, as, besides Akhilesh Yadav, his uncles Ramgoapal Yadav and Shivpal Yadav accompanied her.

According to some local residents, Dimple Yadav has a clear edge over her rivals in Mainpuri.

"No one else but Bhabhi ji (Dimple Yadav) will win from here," Gaurav Yadav, a resident of Gaggarpur in Bewar, said.

"Who is talking about real issues... Ultimately, votes are given on caste lines and local factors, which are favourable for the SP," he added.

Reacting to the BSP fielding Shiv Prasad Yadav from the seat, Jiledar Katheria, a resident of Thonkalpur Tisauli said the Mayawati-led party's efforts to dent the SP will go in vain.

"Not only Yadavs but the entire population of Mainpuri is with the SP. Mainpuri and Etawah are known because of Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) and the work done by him," Katheria said.

For the BJP, which has credited Dimple Yadav's bypoll victory to the public sympathy over Mulayam Singh Yadav's death, conquering Mainpuri will be a major shot in the arm after its takeover of the two former SP strongholds -- Azamgarh and Rampur -- in the 2022 by-elections.

Following the results of the bypolls, the SP’s tally of Lok Sabha MPs reached an all-time low of just three. Of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP bagged 62 and its ally Apna Dal got two in the 2019 general elections. The Congress managed just one seat, while the SP and the Bahujan Samaj Party had forged an alliance.

Uttar Pradesh Tourism Minister and local MLA from Mainpuri Sadar Jaiveer Singh is the BJP candidate in the fray. He expressed hope that "Modi ki guarantee" and the work done by him as a legislator will lead to him emerging victorious.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, in an election rally on Sunday, appealed to the people to make Singh win the seat and promised to make him a 'bada aadmi' or big man.

"You make him win and we will ensure that he becomes a big man," Shah said in Hindi, hinting at Singh getting a bigger role in the party which would result in the all-round development of the city.

BJP District President Rahul Chaturvedi said the party was going to "create history" by winning the seat.

"The sympathy wave in the wake of Mulayam Singh Yadav's death has waned. Now, we have Modi ki guarantee, which people trust. They want development, not appeasement and only the BJP could do that."

"There is no doubt, we will win the polls," he said.

Local resident and BJP supporter Rohit Kumar said the fight is not easy this time for the SP.

"If Jaiveer ji wins, there will be development," he said.

Mainpuri parliamentary constituency has five assembly segments -- Mainpuri, Bhogaon, Kishni, Karhal and Jaswant Nagar. In the 2022 assembly elections, the SP won the Karhal, Kishni and Jaswant Nagar seats, while the BJP won the Mainpuri and Bhogaon seats.

Akhilesh Yadav represents the Karhal seat while his uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav is the MLA from Jaswant Nagar.

According to an estimate, Mainpuri has a majority of Yadav voters at around 3.5 lakh, besides over 1.5 lakh Thakurs, 1.2 lakh Brahmins, 60,000 Shakyas, 1.4 lakh Jatavs and over a lakh Lodhis. It also has around one lakh each of Muslim and Kurmi voters.

The seat has been with the SP since 1996 when Mulayam Singh Yadav first won from here. It was followed by Balram Singh Yadav's victories in 1998 and 1999. Mulayam Singh Yadav triumphed again in 2004, 2009 and 2014. The SP founder won the seat again in 2019.


In the 1996 elections, the SP garnered 42.77 per cent votes while in the 2022 bypoll, the party got 64.06 per cent votes. The SP experienced a significant drop in the vote share -- 53.66 per cent -- in 2019 when Mulayam Singh secured victory by a margin of 94,000 votes.

SP district president Alok Shakya attributed the drop in vote share to senior party leader Shivpal Yadav quitting the SP.

In 2019, Shivpal Yadav quit the SP and was contesting against it. But now the family is united and the situation this time is different, he said.

Mainpuri will go to polls in the third phase of the ongoing general elections on May 7.