Chandrashekhar Azad’s victory in Nagina shifts UP politics

In a remarkable political shift, Chandrashekhar Azad of the Azad Samaj Party (ASP) secured a decisive victory in the Nagina constituency of Uttar Pradesh, defeating BJP candidate Om Kumar by over 1.5 lakh votes. Azad, a prominent Dalit leader and anti-caste activist, received 512,552 votes compared to Kumar’s 361,079, marking a significant milestone for the four-year-old ASP, which contested its first election with a teapot as its symbol.

| Updated: 04 June, 2024 7:02 pm IST

NEW DELHI: In a remarkable political shift, Chandrashekhar Azad of the Azad Samaj Party (ASP) secured a decisive victory in the Nagina constituency of Uttar Pradesh, defeating BJP candidate Om Kumar by over 1.5 lakh votes. Azad, a prominent Dalit leader and anti-caste activist, received 512,552 votes compared to Kumar’s 361,079, marking a significant milestone for the four-year-old ASP, which contested its first election with a teapot as its symbol.

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Azad’s win is a clear indication of changing political dynamics in Nagina, a reserved constituency with a significant Dalit voter base. Historically, Nagina has seen representation from the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and BJP since its creation through delimitation in 2009. However, Azad’s entry and subsequent victory have disrupted the traditional political landscape.

The election was closely watched, with other contenders including SP’s Manoj Kumar and BSP’s Surendra Pal Singh. The BSP’s Girish Chandra previously won the constituency in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, backed by over 3.5 lakh Dalit voters. This time, Azad’s appeal to younger voters and his advocacy for social transformation played a crucial role in his success.

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Azad’s independent stance, refusing to align with the Opposition INDIA bloc, highlighted his commitment to distinct political ideologies. Despite his previous electoral loss against Yogi Adityanath in the 2022 UP Assembly polls, Azad’s persistent efforts and the ASP’s focused campaign have paid off.

The broader political context in Uttar Pradesh reveals a competitive landscape, with the SP leading in 37 of the state’s 80 Lok Sabha seats, BJP in 32, and Congress in 8, along with seats won by ASPKR, RLD, and ADAL. Azad’s victory signals a potential realignment of voter loyalties, particularly among Dalit communities, traditionally seen as BSP’s stronghold.

Azad, the national president of ASP and co-founder of the Bhim Army, has been a vocal advocate for the “rule of the poor” and social justice. His victory in Nagina not only marks a personal triumph but also positions the ASP as a rising force in Uttar Pradesh politics, challenging established parties and promising a new direction for Dalit representation.

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