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=The LS constituency: 1952- 2014
Amroha is where Mohd Shami is from, and just as the Team India pacer does on the cricket pitch, the constituency is known to bowl unplayable deliveries at its sitting MPs. Among the eight seats in western UP that go to polls in the second phase on April 18, Amroha is the only one where no sitting MP has won after 1980.
It’s giving some anxious moments to the incumbent, BJP’s Kanwar Singh Tanwar, a tycoon who is pitted against the gathbandhan’s Danish Ali and Congress’ Sandeep Singh Chaudhary. Tanwar could, however, take heart from Vinod Yadav’s view. The 46-year-old, who runs a makeshift tea stall on collectorate road, says, “Before the Modi government came to power in 2014, nobody ever thought about the development of Amroha. But that has changed now. We can see some development taking place.”
Around 150km from New Delhi and located on the banks of the Ganga, Amroha is known for a range of mango varieties. It got its name from ‘Amra’, mango’s Sanskrit name. Before April 15, 1997, when the BSP government made it a district, it was part of Moradabad. However, Amroha has been a Lok Sabha seat since the first general election. But before it earned its reputation of changing its MP every five years, Amroha actually had a knack for re-electing them. Congress’ Maulana Mohd Hifzur Rahman won in the election in 1952 and retained it till 1962. Thereafter, CPI’s Ishaq Sambhali won it twice in 1967 and 1971. In 1977, Congress was wiped out from the state and BLD’s Chandrapal Singh won the seat, retaining it in 1980, the last sitting MP to do so.
Chetan Chauhan, now UP’s sports minister, won the seat for the first time in 1991, but lost in 1996. He again won it in 1998, but lost to Rashid Alvi of Congress in 1999. Alvi himself couldn’t retain it in 2004 and lost to Independent candidate Harish Nagpal. Nagpal’s cousin Devendra Nagpal won on an RLD ticket in 2009, but BJP’s Tanwar snatched it from him in 2014. Haji Saheb, an elderly local, says MPs have no one but themselves to blame. “MPs don’t think about voters once they reach Parliament. All of them start grabbing money. That’s why they are shown the door,” he says.
SP-BSP candidate Danish Ali’s pitch is that Tanwar is an outsider. “The BJP candidate is from Haryana and has no connect with locals. But Amroha has been my birthplace and my place of work. People are fed up. They need change in Amroha and in Delhi also,” he says. Of Amroha’s around 16 lakh voters, Dalits and Muslims comprise 9 lakh.