With polling underway in 59 Assembly constituencies across 16 districts of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, political observers across the country keep a hawk’s eye on the Karhal Assembly constituency which is also going to polls.
Karhal is a part of Mainpuri district but is located close to veteran Samajwadi Party (SP) founder Mulayam Singh Yadav’s native village of Saifai and has been a stronghold of his family and the party for last several decades.
SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav, son of Mulayam Singh Yadav, is contesting from the Karhal Assembly constituency and is projected as the Chief Ministerial candidate by the SP-led opposition alliance.
On the other hand, as part of its election strategy the BJP has fielded Union Minister S.P. Singh Baghel against Akhilesh Yadav in his own political stronghold. Baghel was once said to be a close aide of Mulayam Singh Yadav.
The political battle of Karhal Assembly constituency has been an interesting one where except the Bahujan Samaj Party and the BJP, no other party has fielded candidates on this seat. Only three candidates are in the fray. BSP candidate Kuldeep Narayan is also in the electoral fray to challenge Akhilesh Yadav apart from BJP’s S.P. Singh Baghel.
The people in Saifai, Etawah and Mainpuri districts as well as party leaders across Uttar Pradesh are keenly observing polling in the Karhal Assembly constituency. BJP wants to repeat the poll victory of Nandigram (West Bengal) and Amethi (Uttar Pradesh) in Karhal, while the SP wants to save its stronghold by winning this Assembly seat.
The BJP is banking on the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, governance of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the central and state government schemes as well as its booth management while the SP is relying heavily on its staunch supporters.
Akhilesh Yadav is confident of winning the Karhal Assembly constituency as well as the whole of Uttar Pradesh, while S.P. Singh Baghel claims that the SP had lost its earlier strongholds — Firozabad, Kannauj and Badaun — during the previous state elections and will lose Karhal this time. Baghel said BJP is confident of defeating SP from the Karhal seat as well.
On the other hand, Shivpal Singh Yadav, who formed a different political outfit after differences with Akhilesh Yadav, and senior party leader Ram Gopal Yadav are confident that Akhilesh will win from Karhal with a margin of more than one lakh votes.
The Karhal Assembly constituency is significant as both the SP and the BJP have fielded candidates against each other. Akhilesh Yadav is currently a Lok Sabha MP from Azamgarh (Uttar Pradesh) while S.P. Singh Baghel is the Lok Sabha MP from Agra.
The election result of Karhal Assembly constituency is likely to impact the politics of Uttar Pradesh. This is the reason many parties across the country and the people of Uttar Pradesh will view the poll results closely.
The district administration has made special arrangements to conduct peaceful and fair elections. Of the total 475 booths in 352 polling booths of Karhal, specific arrangements for live webcasting have been made at 363 sensitive and very sensitive booths.
The ongoing polling at these 363 booths is being monitored directly by the State Election Commission and Election Commission through internet and cameras. Videography is also being done at 22 booths of this Assembly constituency.
During the ongoing Assembly elections, more than 3.71 lakh people in Karhal are not only casting their votes to choose their MLA, but their vote can play a decisive role in changing the politics of the state this time.