Allahabad: socio political history
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Allahabad: socio political history
’From Nehru to Atiq: Don of a new era Home To First PM Is Now Hub For Criminals
Allahabad: The city of Sangam, which was once home to Nehrus and Bachchans, today symbolises the extent to which politics has been criminalised in UP. How else can one explain the phenomenon of a Samajwadi Party toughie with an alleged criminal history, Atiq Ahmed, ascending to power from Phulpur, a constituency that was once represented by former PM Jawaharlal Nehru?
Political observers, however, do not view the rise of an alleged criminal to power with surprise. They claim the constituency emerged as an SP stronghold after successive Congress leaders in the post-Nehru era failed to improve the abysmal conditions of the people there. Today, Atiq is supporting his brother, Mohammed Ashraf’s bid for election from Allahabad City West.
Post-independence, till about 1958, Congress candidates, including Nehru, had won both assembly and Lok Sabha elections from Phulpur. Once a Congress bastion, Phulpur received its first jolt in 1968 byelection when party candidate lost to Samyukt Socialist Party’s Janeshwar Mishra. However, Congress nominee Ram Pujan Patel brought smiles for the party leadership after his triumph in the next election.
Before 1989, there was no caste-based politics in Phulpur. But when the Mandal Commission report was released by former PM VP Singh, the political scenario altered dramatically in this constituency. After 1989, Phulpur voters divided themselves on caste lines and it later emerged as a Muslim stronghold, followed by Yadav and OBCs.
After the caste factor replaced moral values in the area, all political parties have brazenly indulged in caste-based politics, senior Congress leader Mukand Tewari said, adding that the Congress has been making all possible efforts to regain its old glory. In fact, Ram Pujan Patel, who was a Congress nominee, won the 1989 election on Janata Dal ticket. In 1991, Patel again retained the seat on Janata Dal ticket.
After 1993, the area turned into an SP stronghold and its candidates have been winning till date. The party won in 1993, 1996 and 2003 parliamentary elections.
2019: Shastri graffiti from 1962 survives
A wall in the city carries the legacy of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri more than 60 years after he won Lok Sabha elections from Allahabad.
As one enters the busy Khilona Market in Chowk, a porch opposite Kotwali in Loknath area, in red paint across a wall is the slogan: “Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri ji ko vote den, do bailon ki jodi chunav chinnh (Vote for Lal Bahadur Shastri, poll symbol a pair of bulls).” It takes one back to the years of Shastri’s huge influence among Allahabad voters. From 1952 to 1969, Congress poll symbol was a pair of bulls. Shastri won two consecutive terms from Allahabad constituency in 1957 and 1962.
“Before being elected to LS, he was elected to the UP assembly in 1952 from Soraon North and Phulpur West seat,” said Prabhakar Shastri, the former PM’s grandson.
UPCC spokesperson Kishore Varshney said, “During those days, it was enough to write slogans on walls to seek votes for personalities like Shastri. In 1957, he defeated Radhey Shyam Pathak of Praja Socialist Party by a margin of 56,032 votes and later Ram Gopal Sand of BJS by 68,533 votes.”
Shastri was railways minister in the Jawaharlal Nehru’s first Union cabinet.