Phase III of Lok Sabha polls in UP puts Samajwadi Party to test in 'Yadav land'

The first two phases witnessed voting in 16 seats from Western UP's 'Jat belt'. Now, attention turns to the Braj and Rohilkhand regions, where the Yadav-Muslim voter dynamic will play a crucial role.
The image is used for representational purposes only.
The image is used for representational purposes only.Express illustrations

LUCKNOW: As Uttar Pradesh gears up for third phase of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections on May 7, all eyes are on the Braj and Rohilkhand regions, commonly dubbed the 'Yadav land.' Here, 10 key seats featuring a fascinating Yadav-Muslim dynamic will undergo scrutiny, posing a significant test to the Samajwadi Party's reputation and influence.

The general elections in Uttar Pradesh will be conducted across all seven phases, with the first and second phases being held for 16 seats in the 'Jat belt' of Western UP on April 19 and April 26, respectively.

In the 2019 elections, out of the 10 seats contested in phase III, the ruling BJP secured victory in eight, while the main opposition Samajwadi Party (SP), despite forming a formidable alliance with arch-rival Bhaujan Samaj Party (BSP), managed to win only two seats.

This time, the SP has forged an alliance with the Congress under the Opposition's INDIA bloc. Conversely, the BSP has opted for a solo approach, setting the stage for a three-way showdown against the BJP-led NDA, echoing the political dynamics of the 2019 elections.

The upcoming Phase III of voting will be pivotal for the SP, with 10 crucial seats up for contention. These include Sambhal, Hathras, Etah, Aonla, Bareilly, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Mainpuri, Badaun, and Firozabad.

Significantly, three members of the Yadav family are participating in this phase of the elections. SP chief Akhilesh Yadav's wife, Dimple, is contesting from Mainpuri, while his two cousins, Aditya Yadav from Badaun and Akshay Yadav from Firozabad, are also in the fray.

Although the seats going to the polls in phase III fall under the Yadav belt, the ruling saffron brigade has been performing exceptionally well here since 2014. The BJP had won seven of 10 seats, restricting the SP to just three: Mainpuri (Mulayam Singh Yadav), Badaun (Dharmendra Yadav) and Firozabad (Akshay Yadav) in the 2014 general elections.

In the 2019 elections, the BJP secured an additional seat, bringing their total to eight out of the 10 seats in this phase. Meanwhile, the SP retained Mainpuri and emerged victorious in Sambhal.

The seats going to the polls in the third phase have the Muslim-OBC combination as the dominant force influencing the outcome across various constituencies.

In constituencies such as Etah, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Badaun, and Sambhal, Yadav voters form a significant and influential bloc. Conversely, Muslim voters play a decisive role in Sambhal, Aonla, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, and Firozabad, comprising 6 percent to 13 percent of the population, except in Bareilly, where the Muslim population exceeds 33 percent.

Likewise, in Etah, a stronghold of former UP CM Kalyan Singh, non-Yadav communities, particularly the Lodhs, emerge as a significant and decisive force. In other constituencies, the Kachhi, Shakya and Murao communities hold sway, shaping the electoral landscape.

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Sambhal, considered to be the Yadav pocket borough as it has sent SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav to Lok Sabha twice in 1998 and 1999 and SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav in 2004, the BJP wrested the seat in 2014. While the BSP won the seat twice, in 1996 and 2009, the Congress last won it in 1984.

In 2024, the SP had reposed faith in its sitting veteran MP Shafiqur Rehman Barq who had won the seat in 2019. However, even before the commencement of the poll process, Barq, 92, passed away after a prolonged illness. Consequently, SP fielded his grandson Zia-ur-Rahman Barq, the sitting SP MLA from Kundarki in Moradabad.

The BJP has reposed faith in an OBC candidate Parmeshwar Lal Saini, who contested against Barq in 2019, to reclaim the seat, while the BSP has made the contest triangular by fielding a Muslim candidate Shaulat Ali.

Hathras (Sc)

Hathras, a reserved seat considered a BJP bastion since 1991, has been an impregnable fort for the SP and BSP, who have never registered a victory here. In 2009, the RLD won this seat as a pre-poll ally of the BJP, while the Congress last won here in 1971.

In 2019, despite the horrific gangrape and murder case that had created widespread uproar, the BJP's Rajvir Singh Diler defeated the SP's Ramji Lal Suman. Diler died of heart attack last week.

In 2024, the BJP replaced the sitting MP with Anoop Valmiki, the party's sitting MLA, while the SP and BSP have given the ticket to Jasveer Valmiki and Hembabu Dhangar, respectively.

Agra (Sc)

Agra, known as the Dalit capital of the state, has nearly 21 percent of its electorate comprised of Dalits. The BJP has won this reserved seat five times since 1991 and thrice in a row since 2009.

It has retained sitting MP Professor SP Singh Baghel for 2024, who had won the seat for the first time in 2019. The Samajwadi Party has fielded Suresh Chandra Kardan, while the BSP has fielded Pooja Amrohi.

Fatehpur Sikri

The BJP won this seat twice, in 2014 and 2019. Before that, in 2009, the seat was with the BSP. In 2019, the BJP's Raj Kumar Chahar won this seat, defeating the Congress's Raj Babbar.

The BJP has retained Raj Kumar Chahar and the Congress has fielded Ramnath Sikarwar as the INDIA bloc candidate, while the BSP has fielded Brahmin candidate Ram Niwas Sharma, making the contest interesting.


The Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat, a stronghold of the Samajwadi Party, has remained under the control of Mulayam Singh Yadav's family since 1996. The SP patriarch himself represented it five times in the Lok Sabha, while the Congress last won here in 1984.

In 2019, Mulayam Singh Yadav won by defeating the BJP's Prem Singh Shakya. Following his demise in 2022, Dimple Yadav, the wife of Akhliesh Yadav, won the seat in a by-poll.

In 2024, the BJP's Jaiveer Singh is challenging Dimple Yadav, while Gulshan Dev Shakya is the BSP candidate.


After a few flip-flops, the Samajwadi Party finally fielded Aditya Yadav, the son of party leader Shivpal Yadav. It is Adtiya’s electoral debut.

Initially, the SP had named Dharmendra Yadav for the seat but replaced him with Shivpal, who wanted the ticket for his son and the party finally succumbed to his demand.

Budaun seat has been with SP continuously from 1996 to 2014. It was wrested by the BJP in 2019. This time, BJP has replaced the sitting MP Sanghmitra Maurya with Durvijay Shakya.


Known as the city of glass, Firozabad is another citadel of the Samajwadi Party. However, it lost to the BJP in 2019. This seat elected SP chief Akhilesh Yadav in 2009 and his cousin Akshay Yadav in 2014. The Congress's Raj Babbar defeated Akhilesh's wife, Dimple Yadav, in the 2009 by-poll.

In 2024, the BJP has announced Vishwadeep Singh as its candidate, while the SP has repeated Akshay Yadav, son of SP veteran Ram Gopal Yadav.


The BJP has been winning here since 1989, while the SP won it twice, in between, in the 1999 and 2004 elections.

In 2009, former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh won as an independent, supported by the SP, while the BJP's Rajveer Singh, the son of Kalyan, won this seat in 2014 and 2019. The party has retained Rajveer as its candidate again in 2024, while Davesh Shakya is the candidate for SP.


In Bareilly, the BJP has replaced its eight-time MP and former Union Minister Santosh Gangwar, who continuously won the seat from 1989 till 2019, barring 2009 when then Congress leader Praveen Aron, now with the Samajwadi Party, defeated him by a thin margin.

This time, the BJP has replaced him with Chhatrapal Singh Gangwar, who will take on Aron. The BSP got a jolt when the nomination of its candidate, Chhote Lal Gangwar, was rejected in Bareilly.


The BJP has won this seat six times since 1989 and three times since 2009. The SP has won the seat twice, while the Congress last won it in 1984. Dharmendra Kashyap of the BJP, Neeraj Maurya of SP and BSP's Abid Ali are the main contestants.

Phase III: The key numbers

  • Total Seats: 10

  • Date of Poll: May 7

  • Total Districts covered: 12

  • Total voters: 1.89 crore

  • Male voters: 1.01 crore

  • Female voters: 87.48 lakh

  • Third gender voters: 752

  • Total polling centres: 12,339

  • Total Polling booths: 20,415

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