2024 Lok Sabha polls: BJP begins spadework in UP’s Yadav belt | Lucknow News – Times of India

LUCKNOW: The BJP is learnt to have started the process of laying a political siege around Mainpuri – the Lok Sabha seat represented by Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav – ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The saffron outfit recently sent PM Narendra Modi close aide and minister of state for Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh to camp in the district for three continuous days to assess the political situation and review implementation of the various central government schemes in the district.
Singh, who stayed in Mainpuri between August 28 and 30, is reported to have held rounds of meetings with the party functionaries to get a feel of the ground-level pulse. His stay was largely kept away from the media glare.
Singh is also learnt to have held separate meetings with the officials of the district administration to assess the employment opportunities to the youth and exploring the possibility of setting up a unit of Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) in the district.
BJP sources said that Singh is expected to visit Mainpuri frequently, in what marks BJP’s bid to gather deep and independent feedback through senior party functionaries before drawing up its electoral strategy for any vital parliamentary constituency.
BJP’s apparent sharp focus on Mainpuri attains much pertinence amid Shivpal Yadav, the estranged uncle of SP Akhilesh Yadav, staking claim to contest from the seat if Mulayam did not contest because of his frail health.
Speculations have been rife that if Shivpal contests the LS polls as a candidate of PSPL, the Yadav vote might split presumably benefitting the BJP.
This also draws a parallel with 2019 Lok Sabha elections when Shivpal Yadav contested as a PSPL candidate from Firozabad seat and garnered 8% votes (around 92,000 votes) even as Akshay Yadav, son of senior SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav, faced a defeat at the hands of BJP’s Chandra Sen Jadon by a margin of less than 30,000 votes.
In the case of Mainpuri, the BJP had fielded Prem Shakya who managed to corner over 44% of the votes in comparison to winner Mulayam who received around 54% votes.
Sources said that the BJP may once again bank on candidates from the Shakya community which constitutes a major chunk of the voting population in the region.
Experts, however, said, BJP may spring a surprise like it did in Mainpuri’s Karhal assembly seat by fielding Union minister SP Singh Baghel, a Dalit, against Akhilesh in 2022. Baghel lost to Akhilesh by nearly 70,000 votes.