Once considered politically dormant entity, half-a-dozen assembly constituencies in the Cantonment areas of Uttar Pradesh have now become a force to reckon with.
Of the 13 Cantonment assembly seats in the country, six are in Uttar Pradesh which various political parties want to grab.
Apart from state capital Lucknow, five districts in UP have a Cantonment assembly constituency each. These are Meerut, Kanpur, Agra, Bareilly and Varanasi.
Going by the election results since 1991, voters in most of the Cantonment assembly seats have shown preference towards BJP.
But, in 2007 assembly elections, the saffron chariot met with resistance from BSP supremo Mayawati, whose social engineering formula queered its pitch.
Mayawati’s BSP made its presence felt in Agra and Bareilly Cantonments, while the BJP was able to capture the cantonment assembly seats of Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur and Meerut.
In 2012 assembly polls (post-delimitation), the BJP bastion of Lucknow Cantonment fell to the Congress, with Rita Bahuguna Joshi defeating three-time sitting MLA Suresh Chandra Tiwari.
Agra Cantonment (SC) saw BSP scoring a hat-trick, while Bareilly Cantonment saw the advent of BJP for the first time.
The BJP, however, continued its dominance in Meerut and Varanasi Cantonment seats (winning both for the 6th time) and Kanpur Cantonment (winning it for the 5th time).
The prestigious Lucknow Cantonment seat has hogged media limelight in the ongoing UP assembly polls with SP supremo’s ‘chhoti bahu’ Aparna Yadav challenging sitting MLA Rita Bahuguna fielded by the BJP.
In 2012, Rita had won the polls contesting on a Congress ticket.
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(With inputs from PTI)