BJP’s election campaign in the Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency heats up as the campaign started from the Karhal assembly segment this week. CM Yogi Adityanath appealed to Mainpuri voters not to be tricked by the Samajwadi Party’s emotional card played following the death of SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav while addressing the crowd. Especially in the areas of Karhal, Kishni, and Jaswant Nagar assembly segments where SP had a stronghold, the BJP launched a subtle game to challenge the Samajwadi Party’s strategic caste configuration by focusing on its agenda of development and welfare programmes to enhance people’s lives. In the remaining two assembly segments of the Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency, namely Mainpuri and Bhongaon, the BJP already has strongholds through the Upper Caste, Shakya, and Schedule Caste vote banks. Considering that BJP candidates won by margins of more than 10,000 votes in both legislative districts, the party appears to have an advantage.
According to statistics, the parliamentary constituency has over 7 lakh Yadavs, making them the dominant caste, and about 3 lakh Shakyas, making them the second dominant caste in the seats. In the Mainpuri constituency, in addition to these two castes, there are around 2 lakh Thakurs, roughly 1.2 lakh Brahmans, and 1.8 lakh Schedule caste members. In comparison to the 2009 parliamentary election, the BJP’s voting percentage jumped by 36% in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, with most of the surge coming from Schedule Caste and Non-Yadav OBC voters, particularly from the Shakya caste. When compared to the previous election, it is remarkable to see that 10.71% of votes switched from the SP quota to the BJP in the 2019 election. Since 2009, the BJP has significantly increased its polling percentage, and the gap between BJP and the SP has steadily narrowed. The BJP’s success can be ascribed to its continued search for a candidate who can challenge Yadav’s dominance in the district. Given that the Shakya caste is the second-most prevalent caste in the Mainpuri parliamentary constituency, the BJP has continued to run a Shakya candidate since the 2014 by-election, and the outcome appears to be in their favour at least in terms of an increase in the BJP’s vote share.
In order to capture the Non-Yadav OBC vote in all five assembly segments, the BJP again fielded a Shakya candidate this time in the parliamentary by-election, Raghuraj Singh Shakya, to compete against Dimple Yadav of the Samajwadi Party. However, the three assembly segments, Karhal, Kishni, and Jaswant Nagar, will be crucial in helping a Shakya candidate win the Mainpuri parliamentary constituency for the first time in its election history because they have a larger Yadav population than the other two assembly segments, Mainpuri and Bhongaon. Therefore, the BJP’s major focus was on non-Yadav voters, especially in the three Samajwadi Party-held assembly constituencies, in order to guarantee a Shakya candidate from the Mainpuri parliamentary constituency for the first time in Mainpuri political history.