Mayawati with Mulayam Singh Yadav

Mainpuri: Samajwadi Party (SP) patron Mulayam Singh Yadav is likely to have smooth sailing in Mainpuri. The one big factor that has made this seat a Samajwadi Party stronghold is that Yadavs constitute around 35% of the total electorate here.

So overwhelming is the support for Mulayam Singh Yadav in Mainpuri that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) kept wondering whom to field from this town of Uttar Pradesh. When they finally named Prem Singh Shakya as the candidate from the seat, not many were interested to know about it. The Congress has decided not to field a candidate from here.

And now Mulayam enjoys Mayawati’s support. The guest house scandal of the 1990s is far behind them. At least until this election is over.

The SP reigned supreme in this constituency in the 2017 State Assembly polls, which the BJP had swept by winning 325 of the 403 seats. Of the five Assembly seats in this Lok Sabha constituency, the SP had won four.

The party has left Mainpuri, described as its “safest” seat, for Mulayam Yadav although his relationship with his son and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has been strained for the past two years. Mulayam Singh Yadav is the MP from Azamgarh right now.

Mulayam represented Mainpuri in the Lok Sabha in 1996, 2004 and 2009. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Mulayam Yadav contested from Azamgarh and Mainpuri and won both.

In Mainpuri, his victory margin was a massive 3.64 lakh votes.

After his 1967 win from the district’s Jaswantnagar Assembly seat, Mulayam had almost had an uninterrupted run till 1993, broken just once, by his college mate in the Congress camp, Balram Singh Yadav, in 1980.

In 1996, when Mulayam decided to contest the Lok Sabha election, he looked no further and became an MP from Mainpuri, his karmaboomi since his school days.

Mulayam Singh Yadav will contest from Mainpuri, the seat he vacated after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls as he contested from two seats — Azamgarh and Mainpuri. His grand-nephew Taj Pratap Singh Yadav is the sitting member from the seat.

Mulayam’s nephew Dharmendra Yadav will contest from Badaun, his present constituency.

But what has Mulayam done for Mainpuri?

Not much, it may be said about his performance as the favourite politician of the town. Once referred to as dhaan ka katora (rice bowl) for large-scale crop of sela (thick) rice supplied to Bihar and even Bangladesh and Pakistan, Mainpuri is now dealing with as much of farm distress as Maharashtra is.

Ghiror in Mainpuri, despite being the largest mandi of garlic in Asia, could not be developed as a ‘garlic zone’. Traders fleece farmers here offering a pittance for the produce of the latter.

Stray animals, as well as van gai (wild cattle), trouble farmers in Mainpuri. Farmers need to guard their fields in the night to protect their crops.

The demand for a cancer hospital is lost in the files. Ironically, a brand of tobacco known as Mainpuri tambaku is popular here.

On the ecological front, the saras (crane) is fleeing Mainpuri due to shrinking wetlands and green cover.

The district is not connected by rail. Only one fast train, Kalindi Express, passes through its station that serves as a halt also for two passenger trains and one weekly special.

For more Lok Sabha election-related news, please visit this page.