Can Priyanka turn the tables for Congress in eastern UP

New Delhi


The Congress might have surprised its opponents by making Priyanka Gandhi in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh but can she turn the tables for the party in the region where it could not win even a single seat in the 2014 general elections.

Eastern Uttar Pradesh, comprising 23 districts, sends 28 MPs to the Lok Sabha. 

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections the Congress managed to win only two seats -- Rae Bareli and Amethi -- in the eastern part of the state, from where two BJP leaders -- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath -- won with huge margins. 

The BJP had won 23 out of 28, while its alliance partner Apna Dal had won two and the Samajwadi Party won one seat from the region. 

Apna Dal's Anupriya Patel won from the Mirzapur parliamentary constituency and Kunwar Harivansh Singh won from the Pratapgarh seat. Then Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh, who contested the Azamgarh seat in the state, also won. 

Modi and Adityanath won the Varanasi and Gorakhpur seats respectively in the 2014 polls while the BJP's Manoj Sinha won from the Ghazipur seat. 

Eastern Uttar Pradesh comprises of Lok Sabha seats like Gorakhpur, Pratapgarh, Varanasi, Azamgarh, Deoria, Kushinagar, Bansgaon, Faizabad, Rae Bareli, Amethi, Bahraich, Shrawasti, Gonda, Allahabad, Dumariyaganj, Phulpur, Maharajganj, Ambedkar Nagar, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Salempur, Ballia, Jaunpur, Ghazipur, Chandauli, Bhadohi, Mirazapur and Fatehpur. 

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress had won four seats from the eastern part of the state. It had won from Domariyaganj, Shrawasti, Kushi Nagar and Pratapgarh in 2009. 

Even in the 2017 Assembly polls, the Congress did not fare well. Out of the 130 assembly constituencies, the BJP won 87 seats while the Congress could only win one seat. The Apna Dal, Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) managed to win 9, 14 and 10 seats respectively. 

First Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was elected to the Lok Sabha from Phulpur constituency thrice in 1952, 1957 and 1962. He represented Phulpur until his death in 1964. After Nehru's death, Phulpur was represented by his sister Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit from 1964 to 1968.

In 1969, for the first time, Phulpur voted for a non-Congress party. Janeshwar Mishra, a Samyukta Socialist Party candidate won the bypoll in Phulpur after defeating the Congress candidate. 

Besides Nehru, Phulpur has been represented by another Prime Minister -- V.P. Singh. In the 1971 Lok Sabha elections, Singh, a Congress candidate, won the seat.

Now, eastern Uttar Pradesh is considered to be the stronghold of the BJP. The BJP spread its wings in the region after the Mandal Commission recommendations were accepted by the central government. - IANS