Battle for UP: The ‘Hastinapur’ factor

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The “Hastinapur” factor in Uttar Pradesh elections has existed for decades but it is now more pronounced than ever and this has made the electoral battles here even more intense.

Hastinapur, a reserved seat, first became a talked about constituency when the Congress fielded model and actor Archana Gautam and faced flak when Gautam’s bikini clad photographs went viral on the social media.

As the controversy died its natural death, other aspects of Hastinapur started emerging.

“The party that wins the Hastinapur seat, gets to form the government. This has happened for decades but no one talks about it,” said Prakhar Gupta, a local businessman, and adds, “You can see the history of this seat since 1957 to 2017.”

He also adds that the people of Hastinapur are bound by Draupadi’s curse which led to the downfall of the ruling Kauravs.

“Any party that rules, faces a downfall from Hastinapur,” he explains.

In 2007, Yogesh Varma of BSP had won and Mayawati formed the government.

In 2012, Prabhu Dayal Valmiki of Samajwadi Party won the seat and Samajwadi Party formed the government and in 2017, Dinesh Khatik of BJP won and Yogi Adityanath government was formed.

Prior to this too, the trend has remained unchanged.

It is this factor that has made the seat being fiercely contested.

The BJP has fielded its sitting MLA Dinesh Khatik but another BJP leader Gopal Kali is opposing his candidature.

The party unit in this Assembly segment is divided between the two leaders.

The Samajwadi Party has fielded Yogesh Varma who is the RLD-SP joint candidate on this seat.

Varma’s wife Sunita Verma is the Mayor of Meerut and this tilts the balance in his favour.

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