Hamirpur Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Will Decision to Field Lodhi Community Candidate Prove Gamechanger for SP?

The Hamirpur Lok Sabha constituency will vote in the fifth phase of general elections on May 20, 2024. (PTI/File)

The Hamirpur Lok Sabha constituency will vote in the fifth phase of general elections on May 20, 2024. (PTI/File)

The Samajwadi Party candidate has the Lodhi caste factor on his side, but the BJP candidate holds a slim advantage by virtue of the party’s dominance in UP politics as well as the tremendous popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi

The Hamirpur Lok Sabha constituency is one of 80 parliamentary constituencies in Uttar Pradesh. It is a general category seat and comprises entire Hamirpur and Mahoba districts as well as part of the Banda district. Five Assembly segments fall under the Hamirpur Lok Sabha seat — Hamirpur, Rath-SC, Mahoba, Charkhari and Tindwari — all of which are currently held by the BJP.

Polling Date — May 20, 2024; Phase 5

Sitting MP — Pushpendra Singh Chandel (BJP)

Candidates — Pushpendra Singh Chandel (BJP), Ajendra Singh Rajput (Samajwadi Party)

Political Dynamics

  • A mostly bipolar contest is on the cards in Hamirpur constituency which falls in the politically significant Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh. From the opposition INDIA bloc, it is the Samajwadi Party that has challenged the BJP which has been winning the seat since 2014.
  • It’s a tight contest between the BJP and the SP at the moment with both candidates running neck-and-neck. The Samajwadi Party candidate has the Lodhi caste factor on his side, but the BJP candidate holds a slim advantage by virtue of the party’s dominance in UP politics as well as the tremendous popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • BJP Hunt for Hat Trick: Hamirpur is one of 26-odd constituencies in Uttar Pradesh where the BJP is aiming for a hat-trick in pursuit of its larger goal to win all 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The party has given the Hamirpur ticket for the third consecutive time to Pushpendra Singh Chandel, who had wrested the seat from the BSP in 2014 elections.
  • In 2014, Chandel had defeated nearest rival, SP’s Vishambhar Prasad Nishad, by a massive margin of 2,66,788 votes, gathering 46.41% of the vote-share.
  • In the 2019 elections, Chandel’s victory margin was 2,48,652 votes with 52.77% of the vote share.
  • According to data shared by PRS Legislative Research, Chandel was the most active member in Parliament, having participated in 1,194 debates in the 17th Lok Sabha.
  • Anti-Incumbency: While the BJP has an edge in Hamirpur elections, its candidate faces some degree of anti-incumbency.
  • The public’s main grouse against him is that he barely visited the constituency since the 2019 elections. Some voters as well as local BJP workers say he also remained inaccessible on phone.
  • The anti-incumbency factor, however, may be offset by the popularity of the party as well as PM Narendra Modi who is due to attend a rally in Hamirpur on May 16, 2024.
  • Modi and Yogi Double-Engine: PM Modi remains the BJP’s biggest trump card in Uttar Pradesh, with his candidature from Varanasi having a major impact on other constituencies as well.
  • The construction and inauguration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is the party’s flagship pitch to voters in the state, with PM Modi as the driving force behind it.
  • The party is also banking on the perception that the Yogi Adityanath government has “zero tolerance” towards crime.
  • Tapping Into Bundeli Sentiments: The demand for creation of a Bundelkhand state by carving out districts from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh has been around for decades. Hamirpur is one of the constituencies that falls within the geographical limits of this proposed state.
  • In 2018, around 250 people in UP’s Mahoba district, part of which comes under the Hamirpur Lok Sabha seat, had tonsured themselves in support of their demand.
  • All major parties in Uttar Pradesh — BJP, Congress, Samajwadi Party and BSP — have at some point paid lip service in support of Bundelkhand statehood but there has been no concrete action on paper or on the ground.
  • In February last year, sitting BJP MP Pushpendra Singh Chandel, who is the candidate this time too, reiterated the demand in the Lok Sabha.
  • He had claimed that Bundelkhand should be made a separate state for its development and to ensure that organic farming, employment, tourism, culture and religious sectors are promoted in the area.
  • SP Puts Up a Challenge: The last time Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party won the Hamirpur constituency was way back in 2009.
  • This time, however, it has managed to pose a real challenge to the BJP, fielding Ajendra Singh Rajput from the Lodhi community to take on Pushpendra Singh Chandel.
  • He is the son of two-time MLA Chaudhary Chand Narayan Singh Rajput and is said to have made inroads into the Lodhi vote-bank.
  • Besides support from the politically significant Lodhi community, the SP is banking on its strong base in the OBC and Muslim communities in Hamirpur as well.
  • It’s recently forged alliance with the Congress could help avoid splitting of votes, particularly within the Muslim community, in this constituency.
  • Caste Calculations: Caste arithmetic from the point of view of elections has always been a complicated affair in Hamirpur. The constituency has elected Brahmin and Kshatriya candidates five times each, but it is the Lodhi community that holds the sway in this seat. Candidates from the Lodhi community have won the seat six times so far.
  • The Samajwadi Party fielding a Lodhi community member in Ajendra Singh Rajput has shaken up the caste calculations once again in Hamirpur.
  • At present, the Hamirpur constituency counts around 3 lakh Lodhis. The Rath-SC and Charkhari Assembly constituencies have more than 12% voters from the Lodhi caste as well as 6.66% voters from the Yadav caste.
  • Overall, Brahmins account for 10.33%, Vaishyas 2.66%, Thakurs 12.85% and Scheduled Castes 22.64% voters in Hamirpur. Muslims account for 7.69%.
  • While the Lodhi, Yadav and Muslim votes are likely to go the Samajwadi Party way, sources say the BJP may get around 50% of the Brahmin votes.
  • Brahmins have traditionally voted for the BJP, but this time the BSP has fielded a Brahmin candidate in Nirdosh Dixit. The Mayawati-led party is not a significant competitor in Hamirpur in these elections but could eat into the Brahmin votes.
  • The BJP can also bank on Thakur votes since its candidate belongs to the community.

Key Constituency Issues

  • Bundelkhand Statehood Demand: Bundelkhand is a hilly region spread over Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Seven districts in Uttar Pradesh — Hamirpur, Banda, Mahoba, Lalitpur, Jhansi, Jalaun and Chitrakoot — and eight districts in Madhya Pradesh fall under this region.
  • The demand for splitting Uttar Pradesh into Harit Pradesh (western UP), Poorvanchal (eastern UP), Bundelkhand and Awadh is raked up from time to time, and come elections, it gains momentum.
  • The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), headed by Mayawati, was once a strong supporter of the demand when the Samajwadi Party was in power, on development and law and order issues, maintaining that smaller states could be governed better.
  • Dalit icon BR Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution, had recommended division of Uttar Pradesh in his book ‘Bhashayi Rajya’.
  • As the chief minister, Mayawati had first raised the issue in 2007 and her government had even adopted a resolution in the Assembly seeking division of the state into four parts.
  • Both the BJP and the Congress had supported the resolution brought by Mayawati in the 403-member House.
  • But, as Mayawati lost power in 2012 after winning just 80 seats against 206 seats in 2007, her demand lost steam.
  • She has raked up the issue once again before 2024 Lok Sabha elections, saying her party will take “concrete steps” to make western Uttar Pradesh a separate state if voted to power at the Centre.
  • The BJP-led NDA had carved out Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh from UP, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh respectively, giving rise to speculation that it might favour further division of the most populous state.
  • Besides the RLD, Raja Bundelas Bundelkhand Congress, Kalyan Singh’s erstwhile Jan Kranti Party, Amar Singh’s now defunct Rashtriya Lok Manch and Ayub Khan’s Peace Party too had time to time pitched for division of the state.
  • Potholes on Bundelkhand Expressway: Stretches of the Bundelkhand Expressway have developed deep potholes leading to frequent road accidents, complain locals.
  • Several other approach roads in Hamirpur are said to be in dire need of repairs but despite assurances, repair work is yet to begin.
  • Floods: Hamipur is vulnerable to floods whenever water levels rise in Yamuna and Betwa rivers. Hamirpur is located in the middle of the Yamuna and Betwa rivers.
  • The area had borne the brunt of floods in 2021-2022 when 90 villages of Hamirpur were affected.
  • Floodwaters had submerged crops on 2,300 hectares of farmland in Hamirpur, Maudah and Sarila.
  • Water Shortage: More than 12 villages in Hamirpur still do not have regular supply of water.
  • Bundelkhand is an infamously dry region and while the state government had directed the officials to achieve the government’s target of installing tap water connections to every house in Hamirpur, the progress has been slow and erratic.
  • Officials say the Jal Jeevan Mission and Namami Gange project will soon help achieve 100% coverage of piped drinking water.
  • Lack of Industrialisation: Much of the land in Hamirpur is unfit for agriculture, making it viable to set up industries.
  • Yet, the constituency has not seen many factories and industries being set up, which locals say is essential to address unemployment in not just Hamirpur but the rest of Bundelkhand region as well.

Voter Demographics

Social composition

SC — 22.7%

ST — 0%

Religious composition

Buddhist — 0.01%

Christian — 0.09%

Jain — 0.03%

Muslim — 7.69%

Sikh — 0.03%

Geographical composition

Rural — 82.9%

Urban — 17.1%

Major Infra Projects in Hamirpur

  • Bundelkhand Expressway: The Bundelkhand Expressway is a 296-km long, four-lane, access-controlled highway that passes through the Hamirpur district.
  • It connects Bharatkoop in Chitrakoot district to Kudrail village in Etawah district, and also connects to the Agra-Lucknow Expressway and the Yamuna Expressway.
  • The expressway was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 16, 2022.
  • The expressway connects the districts of Auraiya, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Banda, and Chitrakoot.
  • It is a project of the Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) and aims to develop the Bundelkhand area, especially in less developed districts.
  • The expressway will also connect the Bundelkhand area to Delhi through the Agra-Lucknow expressway and Yamuna expressway.
  • Water University: This under-construction 25-acre university in Hamirpur will be the world’s first water university.
  • The university is expected to open in 2025 and will offer undergraduate and graduate programs that include courses on water conservation and water scarcity.
  • The university will also conduct research to solve water mysteries and provide a place for students and researchers to find solutions to water-related problems using modern and ancient technologies.
  • The university’s initiative was led by Swedish environmental scientist Professor Ravikant Pathak and Padma Shri awardee Umashankar Pandey, a water conservationist.
  • JK Cement Operations: The Hamirpur plant is JK Cement’s second grey cement grinding unit in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The plant’s grinding unit began production on October 28, 2022, and the commercial production began on November 2, 2022.
  • It has a production capacity of 2 million tonnes of cement per year (MTPA).
  • It is operated by JK Cement’s wholly owned subsidiary Jaykaycem (Central) Ltd.
  • The plant is said to have addressed unemployment in Hamirpur to some measure.
  • Solar Plant: GAIL India is planning to build a 100-megawatt solar plant in Hamirpur district in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The company has earmarked 200 acres of land for the plant and plans to invest several hundred crores of rupees in the project.
  • Construction is expected to begin in 2024 and the plant is expected to be operational by 2026.
  • The plant is expected to provide jobs for hundreds of people in the area.
  • Bundelkhand Industrial Development Authority: BIDA is an industrial development project in Uttar Pradesh modelled after Noida.
  • The project’s goal is to create a sustainable integrated industrial township in the Bundelkhand region, including Hamirpur.
  • The state government has allocated Rs 8,000 crore in the 2023 supplementary budget for BIDA and other bodies to purchase land.
  • Ken-Beta River Linking Project: In 2021, the governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh signed a memorandum of agreement with the Union Jal Shakti Ministry to implement the Ken-Betwa River interlinking project.
  • The project’s purpose is to carry water from surplus regions to drought-prone and water-scarce areas through interlinking of rivers.
  • It will provide annual irrigation of 2.51 lakh hectares, 1,700 million cubic meters (mcm) of water to Uttar Pradesh and drinking water supply to about 62 lakh people and also generate 103 MW of hydropower.
  • Apart from Hamirpur, the project will benefit the districts of Jhansi, Mahoba and Lalitpur in Uttar Pradesh.

Explore in-depth coverage of Lok Sabha Election 2024 Schedule, Voter Turnout, Upcoming Phase And Much More At News18 Website

Source link

Share This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.