Atrauli in Uttar Pradesh’s
Aligarh district is among 58 Assembly constituencies going to polls on
Thursday. A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stronghold, Sandeep Singh, son of
former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, is the saffron party
candidate for Atrauli in the 403-seat Assembly elections.

Sandeep Singh, 30,
is the incumbent Minister of State for Education in UP. In 2017, Singh won a solid
49.9% of the vote to wrest the constituency. Viresh Yadav of the Samajwadi
Party, with 27.86% of the vote, was a distant second. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)
came out third.

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The BJP, however,
was not always the tallest player in Atrauli. In the 2012 elections, the
Atrauli seat had gone to the SP’s Viresh Yadav. This, however, was an extremely
close win. Yadav scored 26.63% of the vote while the next in line, Prem Lata
Devi of JKP(R) came second with 22.32% votes. The BJP was way behind in the

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Atrauli, however,
has always been dominated by the BJP. Former CM Kalyan Singh had represented
the constituency a total of 10 times. Kalyan Singh passed away at the age of 89
in August last year. After Singh died, questions were raised on why SP chief
Akhilesh Yadav did not come to pay his final respects.

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At the time,
Sandeep Singh, the BJP candidate for Atrauli, had said, “I do not know whether
there were any political reasons, the elections are upon us…I can’t say (why
Akhilesh did not come),” reports CNN-News18.

The former chief
minister was posthumously awarded the Padma Vibhushan on the eve of Republic
Day, 2022.

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One of the lasting
legacies of Kalyan Singh’s tenure as chief minister was the demolition of what
once was the Babri Masjid (now Ram Janmabhoomi). After the disputed structure went
down on December 6, 1992, Kalyan Singh had to resign. The government of Uttar
Pradesh was dismissed by the Union government the same day. Fresh elections
were called.

Uttar Pradesh goes
to polls in seven phases starting February 10. Results will be declared on
March 10.