Sunday, May 28, 2023

Assembly Polls 2022: In Uttar Pradesh, VIP Seats Matter

Assembly Polls 2022: In Uttar Pradesh, VIP Seats Matter

UP has many VIP seats. First on the list is Bareilly Bazar Municipality. Though the first CM of state G B Pant hailed from Almora, he contested from this seat and became the first CM of the state.

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath PTI

In Uttar Pradesh, everything matters. Political awareness is at its zenith. Even the occasional journalists from Delhi who visit the state during elections are often surprised to see the political awareness in remote villages. Everybody here is well versed in politics and can engage in discussions for hours.

When everything matters, it is also important where your roots are, which district you belong to and your constituency since UP itself is bigger than several European countries.

People here do not hesitate to drop names, connections and even flaunt that they hail from VIP seats. Yes, there are some VIP seats in the state. These seats often remain nondescript but swing into the limelight after Chief Ministers were elected from them. Lately, the trend has stopped as many Chief Ministers of the state choose to be members of the upper house (Member of Legislative Council) due to UP's bicameral parliamentary structure.

UP CM Yogi AdityanathUP CM Yogi Adityanath | Image credit: PTI

Talk to any old-timer and he will surely tell anecdotes about how Etawah gained momentum during Mulayam Singh Yadav’s regime and prior to it even Raibareilly, Amethi, Sultanpur remained in the Gandhi family’s pocket borough. People here often had direct interaction with the VIP and their districts also saw preferential development.

Perhaps, after a long hiatus, two Chief Ministerial candidates Yogi Adityanath of BJP and Akhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party have now announced to contest the assembly elections. CM Yogi Adityanath will contest from Gorakhpur (Urban) while Akhilesh Yadav will contest from Karhal constituency in Mainpuri. This will be after nearly 15 years that UP’s CM candidates are contesting the elections.

Though UP has seen 21 CMs, only 16 constituencies had the privilege of electing a Chief Minister.

Akhilesh Yadav | Image credit: PTI

Here is a look at these VIP seats. Many of them have lost their existence due to delimitation while some seats elected their leader 10 times. First on the list is Bareilly Bazar Municipality. Though the first CM of state G B Pant hailed from Almora, he contested from this seat and became the first CM of the state.

Dr Sampoornanand who was also CM of UP in 1954 and 1960 got elected from Varanasi City South for the second and third assembly. Sarojini Nagar seat in Lucknow district also elected Chief Minister when C B Gupta won the seat in 1969.

Mehdawal in Sant Kabir Nagar district has the honour of electing the first woman Chief Minister of the state. Sucheta Kriplani won from Mehdawal (then in Basti district) and became CM of the state in 1963.

In western UP, the VIP tag remained with Chhaprauli seat in Baghpat district. Choudhary Charan Singh won from this seat thrice and became UP CM twice and later became PM.  In eastern UP, Chandauli  (now Syedraja) also gave a CM when Kamlapati Tripathi won the seat and took oath in 1971. Bara constituency in Prayagraj (Allahabad) was won by Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna and became CM of UP in 1973.

Mulayam became CM thrice but preferred to retain his traditional seat Jaswantnagar in Etawah. He once also won from Gunnaur in Badaun, Nidhauli Kalan in Etah, Shikohabad in Firozabad district. Nidhauli Kala seat in Etah (now scrapped after delimitation) also gave Chief Minister  Ramnaresh Yadav in 1977 and later Mulayam Singh Yadav won from here in 1993.

Khurja, famous for clay pottery, also has the privilege of electing a CM after Banarsi Das took oath in 1979. 

Mayawati | Image credit: PTIMayawati | Image credit: PTI

Tindwari seat in Banda district may not be known much these days but it has given a CM when Vishwanath Pratap Singh became CM in 1980. Isauli seat in Sultanpur district also elected Sripati Mishra who was Speaker and later became CM. Vir Bahadur Singh won the Paniyara seat five times and later after his fifth victory became CM in 1985. Jaswantnagar in Etawah was won by Mulayam six times and he became CM twice from this seat. Atrauli seat in Aligarh was won 10 times by Kalyan Singh who became CM twice in 1991 and 1996. Rajnath Singh won the election from Haidergarh seat in bypoll after its sitting Congress MLA resigned, Rajnath won the seat and later again won it when he contested it in the capacity of CM.

Haraura seat in Saharanpur district is quite important as Mayawati won it twice and became CM of the state. The seat is now renamed as Saharanpur Rural. Mayawati also won from Jahangirganj seat in Ambedkarnagar and Bilsi seat in Badaun.