Thursday, April 25, 2024

UP’s ‘family constituencies’ rule the poll scene


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Lucknow, April 1: There are parliamentary constituencies, there are assembly constituencies, and in Uttar Pradesh, there are ‘family constituencies’ as well.

For these family constituencies, it does not matter which member of the family contests the polls, as long as the seat remains within the family.

In some cases, even the party does not matter – getting elected does.

BJP MP Maneka Gandhi began her political career in Pilibhit in 1989 when she won on a Janata Dal ticket. She lost in 1991 to BJP’s Parshuram Gangwar but won it back in 1996 as Janata Dal candidate.

In 1998 and 1999, she won as an independent and then joined the BJP in 2004 to retain the seat which had become a family seat for her by then.

In 2009, Maneka launched her son Varun in politics from Pilibhit while she shifted to Sultanpur. In 2014, Maneka went back to Pilibhit while Varun shifted to Sultanpur. In 2019, the mother and son again swapped seats to win the polls.

For the first time in these years, Pilibhit does not have a Gandhi in the fray since Varun has been denied a ticket by the BJP.

In the Misrikh Lok Sabha seat, the ticket for 2024 has been juggling between the family members even though this is not their family seat.

The Samajwadi Party initially named Rampal Rajvanshi as its candidate. Twenty days later, his ticket was cancelled and his son Manoj Rajvanshi was named candidate, A fortnight later, Manoj was replaced with his wife Sangita Rajvanshi, who is now the candidate.

No one is complaining because the ticket, after all, remains in the family.

The Ambedkar Nagar Lok Sabha constituency, for the past one decade, has been a bastion of the Pandey family. Rakesh Pandey won in 2009 on a BSP ticket, lost in 2014 and then his son Ritesh Pandey won back the seat in 2019.

Ritesh has now joined the BJP and is the candidate for this seat. His father Rakesh Pandey is an MLA from the Samajwadi Party but has joined BJP now.

The Gonda Lok Sabha seat, at present, has turned into a battleground for not one – but two families.

The seat is a family constituency for Anand Singh who won it four times and his son Kirti Vardhan Singh who has also won it four times. He is now the BJP candidate in this seat.

Pitted against him is debutant Shreya Varma of Samajwadi Party. Shreya is the granddaughter of former Union minister, late Beni Prasad Varma, who had won the Gonda seat in 2009. She admits she is here to claim the legacy of her grandfather.

The Kheri Lok Sabha constituency can truly be termed as a family constituency. The Varma family has won 10 Lok Sabha elections from this seat, beginning with Bal Govind Varma in 1962, 1967, 1971 and 1980.

His wife Usha Varma won the seat in 1980 (by-poll), 1984 and 1989 and her son Ravi Prakash Varma won in 1998, 1999 and 2004. Ravi Prakash Varma’s daughter Purvi is now waiting for a Congress ticket to carry forward the family legacy.

In the Hardoi Lok Sabha seat, Parmai Lal won twice in 1977 and then in 1989 and then handed over the baton to his daughter-in-law Usha Varma who won in 1998, 2004 and 2009. The Samajwadi Party has again nominated Usha as its candidate here.



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