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Potato farmers issues dominate Fatehpur Sikri; Congress pins hopes on Raj Babbar for revival

Press Trust of India  |  Fatehpur Sikri (UP) 

Residents in the historical city of in western say problems related to farmers, most of who grow potato and sugarcane, have dominated the issues during the campaigning in the constituency.

And these will likely decide the winner in the Lok Sabha poll scheduled here Thursday.

has pinned its hopes on its Raj Babbar, shifting the from Moradabad after he was said to be not keen on contesting from the seat.

He had unsuccessfully contested from in 2009.

has fielded a Jat leader and farmer's son, Rajkumar Chahar, denying ticket to its sitting and BSP has shown faith in Shreebhagwan Sharma, also known as Guddu Pandit.

Anshul Agarwal, who owns a hardware shop in the main market of Sikri, said the main issues plaguing the area are related to potato farmers and a lack of industries and water for irrigation and drinking purposes.

"In western UP, sugarcane farmers are aggrieved. Here it is (also) potato farmers who are not getting their dues. Due to the historic importance of the walled city, no industries have come up. But certainly non-polluting, processing industries can be set up here," he told

The has pitched the development agenda and "Modi factor" to the electorate.

"Vikas and Modi ji's face are two key factors for us," said Prahlad Garg, a leader.

He cited Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, Ujjwala Yojna, and construction of toilets under a government scheme to make his case and said people have benefitted from these programmes.

Babbar, on the other hand, is banking on his local connection; he was born in

Projecting his image as "Aapka Apna Raj Babbar", he said, "This is the land where I was born, which made me the who earned name in This is the land that elected me to Lok Sabha also."

"How much blessed I am will become clear tomorrow," he told

Babbar said he had initiated work to bring the and ensure potable water to the region but that could not fructify after he lost the election in 2009.

"We need to mobilize resources to resolve this problem," he said.

Asked about Congress's performance in western Uttar Pradesh, he said, "Don't see it as the revival of through me. is in the hearts of people. They have faith in our central leadership in Priyanka ji.

"The previous had showed it can work for all sections of society," he said.

Both BJP and Congress see this poll battle as a fight between them, dismissing any threat from Sharma, who hails from Bulandshahr and is fighting the "outsider" tag.

Sharma has also been reportedly booked for violating the model code of conduct at least four times for his indecent remarks in the run-up to the campaigning that ended Wednesday.

The BJP had wrested the seat from BSP in 2014.

Have things changed since then?

"When the GST and the note ban were implemented, they caused chaos. But now the situation is almost back on track," Agarwal, the shopkeeper, said.

Babbar asserted the schemes implemented by the Congress party have been for welfare of the people at large.

"For example, we brought NREGA, loan waivers in the three states where we recently formed government or our new proposal of minimum income guarantee (NYAY)," he said, and apparently referring to BJP added, "Those who lose people's trust are set to lose the throne."

Around 17 lakh voters are eligible to cast their vote in

The constituency comprises Rural (4 lakh voters), Fatehpur Sikri (3.25 lakh voters), Kheragarh (3.25 lakh), Fatehabad (3.5 lakh) and Baha (4.5) assembly segments.

The region is dominated by Thakur and Brahmin voters, and Jats, Scheduled Castes, Kushwahas and Muslims are also in significant numbers.

In 2014, BJP's Babulal had polled over 4.26 lakh votes, 44 per cent of all votes cast that year. BSP's had come second with 2.53 lakh votes, while Samajwadi Party's had got over 2.13 lakh votes.

Babbar had moved to Ghaziabad in 2014 and lost to BJP's V K Singh.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 17 2019. 19:25 IST