Agra, 17.01.2017 (Times of India): Notwithstanding the fact that Mathura is one of the most important holy cities for Hindus, the BJP hasn’t fared well in assembly electoral battles here, and hasn’t won a seat in more than 15 years. Of the five assembly seats falling in the Mathura parliamentary constituency, the BJP has lost all of them over this period, and last won the Govardhan constituency in 2002.
The BJP won from Mathura city in 1996, Gokul (Baldev) in 1993, Chhata in 1991 and Goverdhan in 2002. The saffron party has, however, never opened its account in the constituency of Mant, which has been represented eight times consecutively by Shyam Sunder Sharma.
Talking to TOI, Pranat Pal Singh, former MLA, who won from Gokul constituency in 1993, admitted that till a few years back, the BJP had no base in the area. He said though the party had won parliamentary polls earlier, it always fared rather badly in the assembly elections, as regional parties had a better hold.
However, Singh is confident that things would change now and 2017 may break this “jinx” for the party. He said the BJP is riding high on the “Modi wave” and the party would surely do well this time.
BJP UP general secretary, Vijay Bahadur Pathak, too claimed that reports from Mathura parliamentary constituency, which is presently represented by Hema Malini, were “good”. While he claimed that the BJP would win 300 plus seats in UP, he refused to comment as to why the party had fared so badly in the temple towns, despite their party’s Hindutva agenda.
BJP youth wing national secretary Rajesh Chaudhary said the party was earlier not strong in the state and played a second fiddle to the regional parties. The stakes for the party had gone up after its win in 2014 Lok Sabha elections and its impact, he said would be visible in the ensuing assembly polls.
According to various sources, the BJP is leaving nothing to chance this time and had deputed senior leaders to ensure that infighting in the party doesn’t affect the prospects of the party candidates in the upcoming elections. Insiders admit that infighting plagues the party in this parliamentary constituency and could cost it dearly, if not controlled.
BJP’s Mathura district president, Tejveer Singh said there is a huge demand for the party tickets this time and nearly 66 aspirants are in fray for the 5 seats. He said the party would ensure that the dissent doesn’t impact its electoral prospects this time.
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