These 23 seats, believed to be SP strongholds are spread across a vast expanse of Uttar Pradesh – from Terai to Braj and are populated mainly by people belonging to Backward Classes. The fate of the candidates contesting from this region is mainly determined by the people residing in the region.

Though SP’s cycle enjoyed a comfortable run in the 2009 general elections as well as in 2012 assembly elections, this time, the party may have to encounter a number of pot-holes. This region will also give a direction to Mulayam’s dream of sitting on the chair of Prime Minister.

Due to ‘bonhomie’ between Yadavs and Muslims, SP usually enjoys an upper hand compared to rest of the parties in this region. In the last Lok Sabha elections, the party, boosted by ex-chief minister Kalyan Singh’s backing, secured eight out of 23 seats in the area. Kalyan emerged victorious from Etta constituency as an Independent candidate with SP’s support.

The SP flag got unfurled in its full glory from Nagina to Rampur, Badaun, Mainpuri, Shahjahanpur, Hardoi, Etawah and Kannauj, while Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) bagged only two seats in the form of Sambhal and Fatehpur Sikri constituencies.

The voters of those regions were soaked in SP colours from the last assembly elections and the party bagged 70 seats out of 115.

The effect of polarization in the state can easily be seen in these regions as well. Several backward communities like Lodh, Kurmi, Jogi, Baghel and Kashyap seem to be swaying to ‘Modi wave’.

Upbeat over Kalyan Singh’s homecoming, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) got bolstered by the entry of several leaders of backward communities into their fold. All these developments have further heightened SP’s worries.

SP is facing a real challenge in the form of keeping the non-Yadav communities united and preventing division of Muslim votes.

The party may enjoy comfort of sorts on seats like Mainpuri, Badaun, Hardoi and Kannauj but it’s finding to maintain its hold over other crucial seats like Rampur, Bareli, Amroha, Moradabad, Etah, Sambhal, Farrukhabad and Ferozabad quite difficult.


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