As the voting for the first phase of Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections 2017 in underway, day end will seal the fate of candidates contesting for 73 seats of the western part of UP. All major parties, including Bharatiya Janata Party, Samajwadi Party in alliance with Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party have put the best of their efforts to lure voters of this region. While the ongoing polls are touted to be a litmus test for Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government and its three years long regime, UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav is also on the radar since his collaboration with the Congress for the Assembly polls.
BJP has been largely blaming SP for the law and order failure in the state and the prime agenda for their election campaign has been the ‘vikas ka vanvas’ (exile of development) caused by the ruling party. Mayawati-led BSP has made it a crucial triangular bet and she is largely betting on the minor community and is of the opinion that her party will form government in UP with full majority.
Calling themselves a duo of young-leaders, UP CM Akhilesh Yadav and Congress VP Rahul Gandhi have joined forces to defeat BJP, BSP and the RLD here. As many as 839 candidates, including main contenders from BJP, BSP, Congress-Samajwadi party and RLD, are in fray for the seats in 15 districts of the region where 26,823 polling stations have been set up.
In the most crucial first out of the seven phased Assembly elections comes Hastinapur Assembly constituency. It is one of the 403 constituencies of the UP Legislative Assembly. It is a part of the Meerut district and one of the five assembly constituencies in Bijnor.
Number of voters
As per the Election Commission data, Hastinapur has nearly 3,00,172 registered voters with Muslims and Gujjars being the two main communities. Dalits too have a considerable presence.
What are the key issues
Looking at the current situation, Hastinapur is undergoing a different kind of electoral battle. Here Dalit candidates are competing with each other to woo non-Dalits.
Who was the winner last time
In the 2012 Assembly elections, Prabhu Dayal Balmiki of SP won this constituency with 6,641 votes. He bagged 46,742 votes. The nearest contender was Yogesh Verma of PCEP who got 40, 101 votes.
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Why is this constituency important
Hastinapur in 1996 elected an independent candidate Atul Kumar and no party got an absolute majority in this constituency. Therefore, President’s Rule was imposed for few months. It was during this period of turmoil that Hastinapur turned to its lone independent legislator. The constituency’s demographic expands with 70,000 Dalits; 75,000 Muslims; 50,000 Gujjars; 22,000 Jats; 9000 Bengalis; 9000 Sikhs and 8000 Brahmins.