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UP Assembly Election: 1st round of BSP ticket allotment begins in Agra.

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When it comes to defining a home base for the Bahujan Samaj party, none of the districts of Uttar Pradesh even come close to the level of confidence that Agra brings to the BSP supremo Mayawati. With a huge Dalit population, Agra enjoys the BSP chief's favour and has been one of her biggest strengths. Even in the 2012 UP assembly elections when the Samajwadi Party literally swept the polls, Agra remained the party strongholds, with six out of nine assembly seats falling in the BSP kitty.

So it is only fitting that the BSP begins its ticket allocation with Agra. Party sources indicate that the process has already begun and five of the seats - Etmadpur, Agra Rural, Fatehpur Sikri, Cantonment, Kheragarh - will be retained by the sitting MLAs, while the names for Fatehabad, Agra North, Agra South and Bah have been almost finalized.

-- Out of these, the Bah and Agra North seats are being seen as the most critical as these two seats have rarely been captured by the BSP. The Bah seat has been the domain of the Prince of Bah, Raja Mahendra Aridaman Singh, who is also the sitting MLA and a minister in the Uttar Pradesh cabinet. The Agra North seat has literally become the personal fiefdom of BJP MLA Jagan Prasad Garg, who has won on this seat five times consecutively and is looking at scoring the sixth win.


-- On the Bah seat, the party is planning to field someone who could take advantage of the dalit and muslim votes, while also profiting from the rising discontent against Aridaman Singh in the region. Madhusudan Sharma, the former MLA from Bah is also trying his best to catch the BSP supremo's attention.
-- On the Agra North seat, the party plans to contest a Brahmin or Vaishy candidate in order to burrow into the strong pro-BJP Vaishy votebank that forms the foundation of Jagan Garg's solid five-term streak.
-- On the Fatehabad seat, the candidature of Umesh Sainthiya, who has recently joined the BSP from RLD, is nearly final, although other aspirants are still in the fray.

On the Agra South seat, deliberations to announce the name of a Muslim candidate are almost in the final stages and former BSP MLA Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutto is being seen as the prime contender.

Talking to India Today, a senior BSP leader of Agra said that earlier, the first list of likely candidates was prepared by the local party coordinator, but this time the party chief Mayawati herself is taking interest in the names of each and every party candidate and is making decisions on these names by herself. Calling it a welcome change, he said that this way the ticket allotment process will be completed faster and more efficiently.

src:indiatoday

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