NDA, Oppn flex muscle in battleground Pratapgarh - Hindustan Times
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NDA, Oppn flex muscle in battleground Pratapgarh

Oct 17, 2023 06:28 AM IST

To counter the SP’s challenge, the BJP organized a series of OBC and Dalit outreach campaigns to consolidate its hold over the backward and Dalit communities here

LUCKNOW The ‘sankalp rally’ to be held by Apna Dal (S) on the death anniversary of party founder Sone Lal Patel in Pratapgarh on Tuesday underscores the fact that both the NDA and INDIA bloc are focussing on the mobilisation of supporters in the region ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav with party leaders during a two-day training camp, in Pratapgarh, on Oct. 5, (PTI Photo)
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav with party leaders during a two-day training camp, in Pratapgarh, on Oct. 5, (PTI Photo)

An ally of the BJP-led NDA, Apna Dal (S) had bagged the Pratapgarh Lok Sabha seat in 2014 LS election. Party candidate Kunwar Harivansh Singh secured victory defeating his nearest rival - BSP candidate Asif Nizamuddin Siddiqui. Congress candidate Rajkumar Ratna Singh was third and SP candidate Pramod Kumar Singh Patel was pushed to the fourth position.

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In the 2019 LS election, BJP candidate Sangam Lal Gupta secured victory from the seat despite the SP-BSP alliance. He defeated BSP’s Ashok Kumar Tripathi. Congress candidate Rajkumari Ratna Singh was third and Jansatta Dal (L) candidate Akshya Pratap Singh was fourth.

Congress candidate Rajkumari Ratna Singh had represented the Pratapgarh seat thrice in the Lok Sabha. Earlier, her father Dinesh Singh had won the seat four times making Pratapgarh a stronghold of the Congress.

Akshya Pratap Singh secured victory from the seat in 2004 LS election on SP ticket. Riding on the Mandal card, Janata Dal candidate Abhay Pratap Singh had bagged the seat in 1991 Lok Sabha election. Later during the Ram Mandir movement, Ram Vilas Vedanti secured victory from the seat in 1998 LS election on BJP ticket.

Even as the SP had secured victory from the seat once, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav had launched a massive workers’ mobilization drive by organizing Lok Jagran camp in the district in October first week. Addressing party workers, Yadav and his uncle Shivpal challenged the NDA as well as Jansatta Dal (L) chief Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya.

To counter the SP’s challenge, the BJP organized a series of OBC and Dalit outreach campaigns to consolidate its hold over the backward and Dalit communities here. The BSP too joined the fight by organizing sector, booth office bearers and workers’ training camps to gear up the party cadre for the 2024 LS election.

Why is Pratapgarh a battleground?

Riding on the Modi wave, the BJP and its ally Apna Dal (S) had secured victory here in the 2014 and 2019 LS elections. But the 2022 assembly elections provided an opportunity to the opposition parties to penetrate into the NDA stronghold. Out of the five assembly seats in the constituency, the SP won Patti and Raniganj seats while the Congress bagged Rampur Khas seat, the BJP won Pratapgarh Sadar seat and Apna Dal (S) won the Vishwanathganj seat.

Two assembly seats of the district - Kunda represented by Raja Bhaiya and Babaganj represented by his aide Vinod Saroj are part of neighbouring Kaushambi Lok Sabha seat. In 2022, the SP had bagged three assembly seats - Sirathu, Manjhanpur and Chail - in Kaushambi while the BJP failed to open its account in the district.

In the 2019 LS election, BJP candidate Vinod Sonkar secured victory from Kaushambi seat defeating SP candidate Indrajit Saroj whereas Jansatta Dal candidate Shailendra Kumar was third.

The 2022 assembly election results in Pratapgarh and Kaushambi gave a boost to opposition aspirations of defeating the NDA in the 2024 LS elections. The SP, BSP and Congress launched campaigns to win the support of OBC, Muslim and Dalit voters. The BJP and Apna Dal (S) also launched workers’ mobilization drive in the constituency.

Considered political turf of the royals, the votes of Kurmi, Maurya, Dalit and Muslim communities are decisive in deciding the fate of candidates in Pratapgarh Lok Sabha constituency. Apna Dal (S), which enjoys influence over the OBC-Kurmi community, has planned to consolidate its hold over the OBCs by organizing the rally on Tuesday. Union Minister and Apna Dal (S) chief Anupriya Patel will address the rally.

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