UP Polls: With Baby Rani Maurya in the mix, rural Agra headquarters set for all-Dalit showdown
The Braj region of Uttar Pradesh took center stage in the first phase of the upcoming assembly elections, with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath indicating that after Ayodhya, the BJP will now focus on Mathura.
Earlier, Union Home Minister Amit Shah launched his election campaign from Mathura, the hub of Braj region.
On the other hand, things are also heating up in Agra. Of the nine seats in the District Assembly, the Agra Rural constituency is heading for an exciting showdown. That reserve seat includes former Uttarakhand Governor Baby Rani Maurya, who is contesting the assembly election on a BJP ticket.
The siege of Agra Rural will witness a four-way fight between two male and two female candidates. While the BJP fielded Baby Rani Maurya, the BSP gave Kiran Prabha his ticket. Upendra Singh is running on a Congress ticket, while Mahesh Jatav represents the Samajwadi party.
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Voters in Agra Rural constituency are astonished to see a former governor standing at the polls to become an MP. Maurya is also the National Vice President of the BJP.
The BJP currently holds the seat, but on March 10 the results could surprise the ruling party.
Moreover, the four candidates are all from the Dalit community, a loss for the BSP as it will contribute to its OBC vote bank.
Established in 2012, the Agra Rural assembly seat was captured by BJP’s Hemlata Diwaker in the Modi wave, beating BSP’s Kalicharan Suman by 65,296 votes. However, Diwaker failed to garner voter support and fearing anti-incumbency, the BJP sent Baby Rani Maurya instead.
The BSP has also bet on Dalit candidate Kiran Prabha Kesari, limiting this battle between two Dalit women.
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Agra Rural has about 1.25 lakh Dalit voters; while one lakh are Muslim voters, Yadav, Kushwah. Being a reserved seat, all the candidates here belong to the Dalit community, so the Dalit voters will be the deciding factor in this election.
A local villager said that this seat has a unique position as a semi-rural seat where a large number of voters are rural and a significant number belong to the urban area. This is the reason why this seat remains devoid of development, he complained. The MLA focuses on the rural area, but the real problems of this headquarters – drinking water, lack of sanitation and poor road conditions – are never solved, he added.
Bhagwan Singh, a farmer, said stray cattle are a major problem. Large groups of wandering cattle enter the fields and destroy the entire crop overnight. Incumbent MP Hemlata Diwaker was made aware of the matter on several occasions, but to no avail, he alleged.
Another local said there is no dirty water drainage and the health department never pays attention to the area. During the Covid pandemic, this region was the most affected and most of the workers were brought to the brink of death by starvation. He said there is a need for job creation in this region.
A senior BJP leader said the party is aware of the problems faced by the people over the past five years, which is why it was decided to change the MLA candidate. People are still angry but I hope they will vote for BJP again, he said.
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