Uttar Pradesh 2017

Star wars in Amethi: Amita versus Garima

Amita Singh  

In an election in which the ruling Samajwadi Party and the Congress have made common cause to take on the BSP and the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s political turf of Amethi is witnessing a contest between the two allies.

Gayatri Prajapati of the SP is pitted against Amita Singh of the Congress, who is backed by husband Sanjay Singh, the influential scion of the erstwhile ruling family here.

However, it is the BJP candidate for the seat who has set off a buzz — Garima Singh, Mr. Singh’s former wife, is seen as a tough contender.

Sympathy factor

While the Congress counts on the charisma of Mr. Singh, the BJP believes that the “sympathy” of people for his first wife, a relative of former Prime Minister V.P. Singh, will turn the tide in its favour in the Nehru-Gandhi bastion.

Conversations with people at a tea stall on the outskirts of the city do suggest a hint of sympathy for Ms. Garima.

Whatever the outcome, the electoral face-off between two factions of the erstwhile ruling family has generated much interest in this star constituency.

Traditionally, the seat has been a Congress bastion, but the SP succeeded in wresting it the last time. The BJP on its part had won it in 2002, when Amita Singh had contested from the saffron party.

Mr. Prajapati, who won the seat through a backward caste consolidation last time, has been controversial as Mining Minister, with the Allahabad High Court ordering a CBI probe into allegations of irregularities in the mining department. Known to be close to SP patriarch Mulayam Singh, Mr. Prajapati has not been in the good books of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

Ms. Garima’s son Anant Vikram Singh, who is managing her election office here, exudes confidence that there is a groundswell of sympathy for his mother that would see her through.

Mr. Sanjay Singh’s aide Deepak Singh, however, disagrees. “The seat has been a Congress bastion and a Nehru-Gandhi family stronghold. Raja Saheb has tremendous goodwill here,” he said.

The constituency, which lacks basic infrastructure despite its high profile, goes to the polls in the fifth phase of elections in the State on February 27.

SP versus Congress here

Mr. Anant Vikram Singh says the fact that the SP and Congress are contesting against each other here is confusing workers of both parties. “How will they oppose each other here and in the same breath ask for a vote for the alliance in U.P.? Such is the confusion that they came up a poster with photographs of both Amita Singh and Gayatri Prajapati,” he told The Hindu.

However, Mr. Deepak Singh claims that the controversies surrounding Mr. Prajapati makes it easier for the Congress.

As for the BSP, he claims the party’s candidate Maurya Rahul is not a tough contender, as he is an outsider to Amethi.

The constituency has a mixed electorate of Brahmins, Koris (Scheduled Caste), Thakurs, Yadavs and Mauryas,a most backward caste. Muslims do not form a sizeable section in this town, political observers say.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 10:12:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/uttar-pradesh-2017/Star-wars-in-Amethi-Amita-versus-Garima/article17315307.ece

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