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BJP, Congress in fierce battle for Fatehpur Sikri LS seat

BJP faces anti-incumbency, internal strife, and Thakur voter discontent, compounded by the popularity of Congress candidate, a Kargil war veteran.

Fatehpur SikriLUCKNOW: Fatehpur Sikri, once the captial of erstwhile Mughal Empire, is the most recent parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh. Following delimitation in 2008, it was carved out of Agra Lok Sabha seat. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, it saw its inaugural victory secured by the BSP’s Seema Upadhyaya.

The town, renowned for housing the shrine of the Sufi saint Salim Chishti and the resolute red stone fortress of Emperor Akbar, stands as a testament to the grandeur of the Mughal empire.

This time around, the Fatehpur Sikri seat appears to be balanced on a knife’s edge, with both the ruling BJP and the Congress eyeing victory.

In Uttar Pradesh, the Congress is contesting 17 seats in alliance with its INDIA bloc partner, the Samajwadi Party. Among them, Ramnath Sikarwar, popularly known as ‘Fauji Baba’, is posing a strong challenge to Rajkumar Chahar, the BJP’s sitting MP from Fatehpur Sikri.

The BJP lawmaker had won the Fatehpur Sikri seat with a margin of five lakh votes in the previous 2019 Lok Sabha election by defeating Raj Babbar, the then-state president of the Congress.

Chahar, who is also the national chairman of BJP Kisan Morcha, finds himself entangled not only in his party’s internal conflicts regarding his candidature but is also grappling with significant anti-incumbency sentiment.

Apart from contending with the opposition candidate, Chahar is also grappling with a formidable challenge from Rameshwar Chaudhury, son of the incumbent BJP MLA from Fatehpur Sikri, Babulal Chaudhury.

Rameshwar is contesting as an independent and is perceived to wield greater influence than Chahar among Jat voters in the constituency.

Conversely, Chahar faces opposition from the disgruntled Kashtriya community, while Congress candidate Ramnath Sikarwar, himself a Kshatriya, garners their support. Similarly, the anti-incumbency factor also poses a substantial obstacle to replicating his past success.

Acknowledging these challenges, senior BJP figures, including prominent Thakur leaders Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, are conducting numerous rallies in Sikri and Agra to assuage the concerns of the disillusioned Kshatriya community.

Under the given circumstances, Chahar is relying entirely on the Modi-Yogi factor. PM Modi had convened a poll rally in Agra recently to seek support for both Chahar and Prof SP Singh Baghel, the BJP candidate from Agra.

Amidst mounting anticipation of a potential triumph, the Congress party’s top brass are directing their focus towards Sikri. Notably, during the second phase of the election, the absence of prominent leaders campaigning for the Congress candidate in Mathura was conspicuous.

However, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi is slated to conduct a roadshow in support of Congress candidate Ram Nath Sikarwar in Fatehpur Sikri on May 3.

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