Business Standard

Bijnor’s electoral journey: From BSP’S legacy to three-cornered battle in ’24

Starting today, Business Standard will feature Lok Sabha constituen­cies that have either emerged crucial for the 2024 electoral battle or played a pivotal role in shaping the country's politics since the first general elections in 1951-52


Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh will vote in the first phase on April 19.

The history of Bijnor Lok Sabha constituen­cy is intertwine­d with the rise of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and its party chief Mayawati. In 2019, Malook Nagar won the seat for the BSP thirty years after Mayawati debuted in the Lok Sabha from the constituen­cy in 1989.

However, two interestin­g Lok Sabha bypolls had preceded Mayawati’s 1989 success from Bijnor. In 1985, a bypoll was held for the Bijnor seat after the passing away of Congress MP Girdhari Lal. The Congress fielded debutante Meira Kumar, who had quit the Indian Foreign Service to follow her father, former deputy Prime Minister and most prominent Scheduled Caste leader, Jagjivan Ram, in politics. Kumar struggled to beat Lok Dal’s Ram Vilas Paswan, at the time a two-term former MP from Bihar’s Hajipur, by less than 6,000 votes.

Mayawati, who could not contest on her party’s symbol as the BSP was still unrecognis­ed, trailed at number three but gnawed into the Congress support base, securing 61,000 votes. Paswan and Mayawati punctured Kumar’s ambitions of becoming Jagjivan Ram’s legatee in UP.

Two years later, in 1987, Congress’s Ram Singh won in a Lok Sabha bypoll from the Hardwar seat. Mayawati was the runnerup, losing by nearly 14,000 votes. Paswan was pushed to number four. More embarrassi­ngly, he forfeited his deposit and ambitions to emerge a leader of UP’S Dalits. In 1991, Mayawati lost from Bijnor to a BJP candidate. She also lost from Bulandshah­r and Haridwar. However, the BSP was part of the coalition government in Lucknow two years later, and Mayawati became the state’s chief minister in 1995. The BSP’S rise in UP contribute­d to the Congress’s decline in India’s most populous state. For the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP has left the seat for ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) to contest in a three-cornered fight against the Samajwadi Party and BSP.

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