Sitting MP Dharmendra Yadav, nephew of Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, will be forced to counter the ‘Modi wave’ and Muslim voters’ preference for the BSP in Badayun this time around.
Considered to be an important seat for the Mulayam clan, this Lok Sabha constituency sprang into the limelight because of famous Urdu poet and film lyricist Shakeel Badayuni who penned the soulful ‘Chaudhvin ka Chaand ho’. The district is known as the land of Sufi saints.
However, closed industries and traffic congestion, which residents lament are a normal feature, greet one on entering the town situated about 300 km from the state capital. Dharmendra Yadav has been able to bring a few important developmental projects to the constituency, but problems continue unabated.
“The expectations of people have not been fulfilled, though in Dharmendra Yadav we have a representative who has direct access to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav,” said Brahma Prakash, a resident.
However, Dharmendra has been highlighting the establishment of a medical college, an engineering college and the construction of an over-bridge as his achievements over the last five years. As many as 42 industries were once set up with the aim of turning the district into an industrial centre, but today 22 of them have been shut down, said officials.
Many sick industrial units were taken over by the Uttar Pradesh Finance Corporation after they failed to repay their loans. Residents also complain about the poor condition of roads in the rural areas. Many accuse the administration of discrimination in undertaking developmental activities.
“Yadav-dominated villages get more funds in comparison with others,” said another resident, who did not wish to be identified. SP supporters dismiss the allegations. “We have not discriminated against any community... it is nothing but an attempt to tarnish the image of Dharmendra bhaiya,” said Rajendra Yadav.
Badayun has a sizable number (30 per cent) of Yadavs, who have been traditionally voting for the SP. Muslims too form around 35 per cent of the total electorate. SP leaders claim that Dharmendra would benefit from the Yadav and Muslim votes, but the BSP seems to be a big obstacle.
The BSP has fielded a Muslim candidate, Haji Akmal, who is new to the political arena.
He has been attacking the SP regime for its failure in ensuring law and order here. Thus, the Muslim votes are likely to be divided between Dharmendra and Akmal. In fact, in Binawar and Sahaswan, the Muslims appeared to be inclined towards the BSP nominee. “A consolidation of the Muslim votes in favour of the BSP nominee may pose problems for Dharmendra,” conceded a local SP leader.
The Congress has not nominated anyone here and is supporting Mahan Dal, a local outfit, which has fielded Swami Pagalanand, who is better known as an activist.