UP Assembly elections 2022: From Kairana to Mathura, key electoral battles to watch for in Phase 1 polling

The battle for Uttar Pradesh has begun as the first phase of polling in the Jat-dominant belt of western part of the populous state is under...

The battle for Uttar Pradesh has begun as the first phase of polling in the Jat-dominant belt of western part of the populous state is underway.

As people queue up to exercise their electoral right and determine the future of 623 candidates, here’s a look at some key battles in the first phase.

Catch all the live updates from the first phase of UP Assembly polling HERE

It is important to note that in the 2017 Assembly elections, the BJP had won 53 of the 58 constituencies in western Uttar Pradesh.

Noida

All eyes will be trained on Noida in the Gautam Buddha Nagar district. In 2017, the BJP’s Pankaj Singh, who is also Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s son, had won the Noida seat by a margin of over 1 lakh votes over his nearest rival.

Seeing his success, the BJP has fielded him against Samajwadi Party’s candidate Sunil Choudhary. Congress has fielded Pankhuri Pathak while Pankaj Awana, a former employee of tech giant Apple, is contesting as an Aam Aadmi Party candidate.

Interestingly, Pankaj Singh had won the 2017 poll by trouncing SP’s Sunil Choudhary.

Kairana

Kairana is one of the most talked-about electoral battles in the state. The BJP has picked Mriganka Singh, daughter of the late MP Hukum Singh, as its candidate from Kairana. From the SP, is Nahid Hasan, the sitting MLA.

Ever since the early 1990s, Kairana has sent representatives from both these families to the state Assembly as well as the Lok Sabha. Through the decades the two clans changed their political allegiances at various points of time. But it was always Singh versus Hasan.

Now that both Hukum Singh and Munawwar Hasan are dead, the long-standing political rivalry between the two families has moved on to the next generation. Munawwar Hasan’s son Nahid defeated Hukum Singh’s daughter Mriganka in the 2017 state polls. The two families have dominated Kairana’s political landscape for over four decades.

Sardhana

BJP has opted for Sangeet Som, the Muzaffarnagar riots accused, for this seat. He was arrested on 20 September, 2013, for allegedly uploading a fake video that played a role in triggering communal tensions.

Som won from here in 2012 as well as 2017. The SP, on the other hand, has chosen Atul Pradhan. In 2017, Som had defeated Pradhan by a margin of over 21,000 votes.

Mathura

Mathura is also set for a high-pitched battle with sitting BJP MLA Shrikant Sharma, a minister in the Adityanath government, contesting to retain the seat he first won in 2017. Earlier, speculation was rife that UP deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya was eyeing this seat.

Shrikant Sharma is up against BSP's SK Sharma, SP's Devendra Agrawal and Pradeep Mathur of the Congress.

Shrikant Sharma had trounced his nearest rival, Pradeep Mathur, by a margin of over one lakh votes in 2017.

Thana Bhawan

Thana Bhawan will witness a key battle between UP’s cane development minister and two-time BJP MLA Suresh Rana and RLD’s Ashraf Ali, former chairman of the Jalalabad civic body.

BJP’s Rana hopes to repeat his 2017 success where he polled 16,817 votes over his nearest opponent- BSP's Abdul Waris Khan.

However, it doesn't seem to be an easy election for Rana as the local community’s main complaint is that he hasn’t done enough to assist the area’s sugarcane farmers.

According to reports, farmers claim that, despite government charges, their local BJP MLA and minister Rana could have done more to collect their dues from mills such as the Bajaj sugar mill in Thana Bhawan, which is one of the largest in West UP and a key source of sugarcane sales in Shamli.

Muzaffarnagar

In Muzaffarnagar, Kapil Dev Agarwal, a sitting BJP MLA and minister in the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government, will face the challenge from RLD’s Saurabh Swaroop Bansal.

The memories of the Muzaffarnagar riots are still fresh in the minds of the voters and it is left to be seen if it has any impact on the polls.

For the unversed, the riots, which took place in August-September 2013 during the SP rule, claimed the lives of 62 people and around 50,000 were displaced after the riots.

Atrauli

In the Aligarh district, Atrauli is the most VIP seat in the district.

BJP has fielded MLA Sandeep Singh, who is hoping to retain the seat he first won in 2017. A sitting minister in the Adityanath government, Sandeep Singh is the grandson of the late Kalyan Singh - former UP chief minister who passed away in August of last year due to multi-organ failure, aged 89.

Sandeep Singh has been pitted against SP's Viresh Yadav (56) and Dr Omveer Singh (54) of the BSP.

Agra Rural

In Agra district, the Agra Rural seat has perhaps the most interesting poll battle. The BJP has fielded former Uttarakhand governor Baby Rani Maurya. Having served as the mayor of Agra from 1995 to 2000, Baby Rani Maurya narrowly lost to her BSP opponent from the Etmadpur seat in the 2007 Assembly polls.

She has been fielded against BSP's Kiran Prabha Kesari, RLD's Mahesh Kumar, AAP's Arun Kumar Katheria and Upendra Singh of the Congress.

With inputs from agencies

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India World News: UP Assembly elections 2022: From Kairana to Mathura, key electoral battles to watch for in Phase 1 polling
UP Assembly elections 2022: From Kairana to Mathura, key electoral battles to watch for in Phase 1 polling
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