UP Polls: Duryodhan wants to reclaim Hastinapur, Jawaharlal in Phulpur

Duryodhan and Narad as well as Nehruji and Zulfikar Bhuto — one may think mythical heroes and historical leaders are fighting the Uttar Pradesh polls, if one goes by the list of candidates.

In the fray are a variety of namesakes, which includes that of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his bete noire Amar Singh, whose name figures in the list of three parties in four constituencies.

Not just mythical characters or former Prime Ministers’ figure in the list, namesakes of sportspersons like Kapil Dev and artistes like Irfan Khan and Arshad Warsi and singer Mohd Rafi are also contesting.

Akhilesh, the Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party chief, is not contesting as his tenure as Member of Legislative Council (MLC) ends only in 2018 but the party has fielded his namesake from Mubarakpur.

Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh, once a close confidante of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and now expelled from SP, is also not contesting but his name sakes are fighting under the banner of BJP (Kaimganj), CPI-M (Etawah and Chandpur) and RLD (Kursi). Interestingly, one of them is fighting from Etawah, a stronghold of Mulayam.

The mention of 65-year-old candidate in Hastinapur, the mythical capital of Kauravas, also evokes interest. If the Kauravas under Duryodhan lost the war in Maharbharata, the new-age Duryodhan, a Bahujan Mukti Party candidate, is trying to recapture Hastinapur electorally.

Now, how can someone from the other side Pandavas be left out? An independent candidate Arjun, a 29-year-old agriculturist, is fighting from Bansi while 25-year-old Abhimanyu, a social worker, is also in the fray from Pipraich. Narad is BSP candidate from Ballinagar.

How can namesakes of political leaders be left behind. Jawaharlal, Charan Singh, Atal Bihari and V P Singh are also in the fray.

It is not only in name that 40-year-old NCP candidate Jawaharlal echoes the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The NCP nominee is fighting from Phulpur Assembly constituency, which is part of Phulpur Parliamentary seat that Nehru represented thrice.

Independent candidate in Shikohabad Ramprakash Yadav goes by the petname ‘Nehruji’. Charan Singh, country’s Prime Minister for a brief period in post-Emergency era, also has a 64-year-old namesake in Naugawan Sadat while V P Singh, another former Prime Minister, also has a namesake in Meerut Cantt.

Atal Bihari, who goes by the first name of A B Vajpayee, is the contestant in Etmadpur. Bhutto is a BSP candidate from Agra South.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Mar 6, 2017)


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