Agra Considered as a strong pillar of the much talked about social engineering formula which paved the way for the Bahujan Samaj Party to form full majority government in UP in 2007, Ramveer Upadhyaya, a five-time BSP MLA and minister in Mayawati cabinet, is contesting this assembly election as BJP candidate from Sadabad assembly constituency in Hathras district.

A known Brahmin face of the Bahujan Samaj Party in the past, Ramveer Upadhyaya is often given credit for convincing Mayawati, the then chief minister, to give Hathras status of a new district, although with changed name Mahamaya Nagar, on May 6, 1997.

Upadhyaya won his first assembly election in 1996 as Bahujan Samaj Party candidate from Hathras assembly seat and was re-elected from here in 2002 and 2007 till the seat remained general. He rose in stature, acquired confidence of BSP chief Mayawati and was assigned important portfolios as minister in BSP regime, like power, medical education and transport.

Once Hathras became a reserved assembly seat, Ramveer moved to the nearby constituency Sikandra Rau and again won in the 2012 assembly elections. He contested from Sadabad as BSP candidate in 2017 state assembly elections and won.

There prevailed uncertainty about Ramveer Upadhyaya for years as he distanced himself from active politics and was suspended from the BSP on May 21, 2019, but remained neutral during the 2019 parliamentary election.

On January 14 this year, Ramveer Upadhyaya resigned from the Bahujan Samaj Party. He has filed his nomination as BJP candidate from Sadabad assembly seat of Agra but seems to be locked in a close contest this time.

He is one amongst the 13 candidates in fray on Sadabad and faces

BSP candidate Dr Avin Sharma, RLD candidate Pradeep Kumar Singh alias Guddu Chaudhary, Congress candidate Mathura Prasad Kushwaha and AAP candidate Arti Bhatt.

In the 2012 assembly elections, the BJP candidate from Sadabad could get only 6890 votes while remaining at a dismal fourth position. The Samajwadi Party candidate won the election with 33.84 % vote share, closely followed by the BSP candidate who got 31.09 % votes and RLD candidate with 27.21 % votes stood third but ahead of the BJP.

Luck did not favour the BJP in the 2017 state assembly elections too in Sadabad, though the party BJP performed exceedingly well in other parts of the state. The winner was the same Ramveer Upadhyaya but as BSP candidate. He got 41% votes followed by RLD candidate Dr Anil Chaudhary, who got 28 % votes. The BJP candidate in that election got a mere 16 % votes and was at third position.

Seemingly not in good health, Ramveer Upadhyaya is banking on his own support base and traditional vote of the BJP to sail through. Even his supporters believe that poor health of Upadhyaya and absence from campaign might affect his prospects and thus all eyes are set on this assembly seat for a major tussle.

Jats are dominant voters in Sadabad and Jayant Chaudhary has addressed multiple public meetings here for RLD candidate, popular as Guddu Chaudhary. Brahmins and SC voters are also in prominence.

“Sadabad voters had been voting more on the face of the candidate and Ramveer Upadhyaya is a known face in Hathras district. However, being a BJP candidate and sitting MLA, he has to face the anti-incumbency factor, muchprevalent in the rural belt dominated by the Jats. His ill-health has kept him away from campaigning and he filed nomination online. In any case, it is a tough fight in Sadabad for Ramveer Upadhyaya,” said a senior politician not wanting to be named but well aware of politics in this region.

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