Baghpat, without Chaudhary family, ready to return to BJP-RLD fold

Baghpat (UP): Baghpat, which has been won by Chaudhary Charan Singh and Ajit Singh for 10 terms, can rightly be termed as a Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) bastion.

It has been a stronghold of Jat politics and has emerged as the epicentre of farm politics in recent years.

Ironically, this is the first time that no member of Chaudhary Charan Singh’s family is contesting the poll from this seat yet the family continues to rule the hearts of the people here.

By conferring the Bharat Ratna on the late Chaudhary Charan Singh, the BJP has also turned the tide in its favour.

Late Charan Singh won this seat in 1977, 1980 and 1984 while his son Ajit Singh won it six times in 1989, 1991, 1996, 1999, 2004 and 2009.

His son Jayant Chaudhary lost the election from Baghpat to Satyapal Singh in 2019.

This time, the Rashtriya Lok Dal is all set to wrest back this seat and the alliance between BJP and RLD is making its easier.

The RLD has fielded Rajkumar Sangwan, as the candidate of the BJP-RLD alliance while the BJP denied a ticket to former Mumbai commissioner Satyapal Singh to pave the way for Sangwan.

Congress-SP alliance candidate is Amarpal Sharma and the BSP has fielded Praveen Bansal.

Rajkumar Tyagi, a local farmer, explains, “This is not the time to discuss old issues. Chaudhary Saheb (Charan Singh) has been given Bharat Ratna and we must honour Jayant Chaudhary’s decision to align with BJP. Our vote is for the alliance and there is no denying it.”

However, people do not deny that there will still be a fiercely contested battle in the constituency.

The constituency has 22.4 per cent Jat, 18.8 per cent Muslim, 20.4 per cent Dalit, 11.4 per cent Gujjar, 3.2 per cent Yadav, 3.2 per cent Vaishya, 3.1 per cent Tyagi, 3.1 per cent Thakur and 6.4 per cent Brahmin among others.

A local advocate Harish Malik says, “RLD needs to stitch voters of other castes with dominant Jat votes to ensure victory of its candidate as division in votes of these castes would turn the contest into a close fight.”

Besides, Baghpat is known to spring surprising results in the past. The then RLD chief Ajit Singh had finished at third place with 19.86 per cent votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha election held a few months after communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts.

The riots had affected RLD’s trusted winning equation of Jats-Muslims and angry Muslims did not vote for Ajit Singh which paved the way for the victory of BJP’s Satya Pal Singh who secured 42.15 per cent votes.

Baghpat, incidentally, is going to polls on April 26 in the second phase of elections with a new identity –its connection with Mahabharata.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was the first to mention the Mahabharat connection of Baghpat when, along with RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary, he launched the election campaign earlier this month.

Baghpat is believed to be one of the five villages of the epic age that the Pandavas requested from Duryodhana to avoid the battle of Mahabharat.

Baghpat, said to be the site of Lakshagraha (a palace made of wax built to kill the Pandavas) at Barnawa in nearby Baraut, now basks in the glory of its epic age connection.

Situated in the agriculturally enriched western region of Uttar Pradesh, Baghpat is also known for its home furnishing products.

Baghpat derives its name from ‘Vyaghraprastha’ (tiger city), owing to its historical population of tigers. However, political parties in their rallies are using a lesser-known name ‘Vakyaprastha’ (city of delivering speeches) as the word of origin for Baghpat.


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