3:46 PM: BJP’s Vijay Kumar Kashyap has won in Charthwal. He has defeated SP’s Mukesh Kumar Chaudhary by 23,231 votes. The BJP has now won four seat in the Muzaffarnagar region.
3:15 PM: BJP’s Vikram Singh has won in Khatauli. He has defeated his nearest rival, SP’s Chandan Singh Chauhan, by over 31,000 votes. BJP has now won three seats in the Muzaffarnagar region.
2:59 PM: BJP’s Pramod Utwal has just won Purqazi seat in Muzaffarnagar. He has defeated his nearest rival, Congress’ Deepak Kumar, by 11,253 votes.
2:53 PM: Muzaffarnagar City has just been called by the EC. BJP’s Kapil Dev Agarwal has emerged from behind to defeat SP’s Gaurav Swarup Bansal by over 10,000 votes. The BJP is leading in other seats in the district too.
2:32 PM: BJP’s Kapil Dev Agarwal just overtook SP’s Gaurav Swarup Bansal in Muzaffarnagar. Agarwal is now leading by over 10,000 votes.
2:20 PM: SP’s Gaurav Swarup Bansal is still in lead in Muzaffarnagar city. He leads BJP’s Kapil Dev Agarwal by 9,893 votes.
1:49 PM – BJP’s Vijay Kumar Kashyap leads his nearest competitor from Samajwadi Party, Mukesh Kumar Chaudhary, by 23,120 votes in Charthawal.
1:12 PM- BJP’s Pramod Utwal leading over Congress’ Deepak Kumar in Purqazi by over 7,000 votes. It is tough to call these seats in Muzaffarnagar yet. They could still go either way.
12: 58 PM- SP’s Liyaqat Ali has just overtaken BJP’s Avtar Singh Bhadana in Meerapur. Ali now has a lead of 2,000 votes.
12: 52 PM- BJP’s Umesh Malik leading over SP’s Pramod Tyagi in Budhana by over 19,000 votes.
12: 15 PM – SP’s Gaurav Swarup Bansal consolidates lead in Muzaffarnagar city, but BJP candidates continue to lead in the rural parts of the district.
11:46 AM – A tight fight underway between the BJP and SP in Khatauli, where the BJP candidate is leading by just under 700 votes. Expect a photo-finish in this seat.
Scroll down for the list of candidates in fray from assembly constituencies falling in Muzaffarnagar.
11: 35 AM – Local BJP leaders in the region were accused of making polarising remarks while campaigning in this communally sensitive region of western UP. Their campaign rhetoric seems to have worked.
11:30 AM – RLD candidates fail to make inroads in this western UP region. Except in Muzaffarnagar main city, it is BJP which is leading in other seats.
10: 56 AM – BJP’s candidates is leading in Khatauli and Meerapur seats. SP’s Gaurav Swarup Bansal is leading in Muzaffarnagar constituency by over 15,000 votes. Bansal’s lead is the only exception in what otherwise appears to be a BJP victory in this crucial region.
10:36 AM- BJP’s Vikram Singh leading in Khatuali over his nearest rival Chandan Singh of Samajwadi Party.
9:55 AM- BJP’s candidates leading in several seats in Muzaffarnagar, the entry of the RLD seems to have made no difference to BJP’s prospects.
9:48 AM- BJP’s Avtar Singh Badhana leading from Meerapur
The politically sensitive constituency of Muzaffarnagar was the epicenter of deadly riots in 2013 that left nearly 100 dead and displaced more than 50,000 residents. The communal violence is believed to have polarised local opinion in the 2014 general election and contributed partly to the election of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Dr Sanjeev Baliyan to Lok Sabha from this region that falls in western Uttar Pradesh (UP). The demography of the district, which has a large Muslim population of almost 45 percent, provides ample political opportunities for outfits practising identity politics, as much it is a challenge for secular politics.
The victory of BJP candidates from the six assembly seats in Muzaffarnagar may have been somewhat likely, had the decision to scrap high-value bank notes not impacted the politically powerful farming community, comprising mainly of Jats who are known to have voted the BJP in large numbers in 2014. However, the farmers in and around Muzaffarnagar are still believed to be reeling from the aftermath of demonetisation as their farming transactions were reportedly impacted.
Political rivals of the BJP are believed to be tapping into this anger against the Narendra Modi administration, more so since Modi turned himself into the face of the party for the UP elections as he campaigned across the length and breath of the state. Beside candidates from the BJP, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP), candidates from Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) are also in contention to win seats from this pocket of UP. There are also predictions that the RLD may well eat into the Jat vote share of the BJP, thus denying their candidates victory to say the least.
Muzaffarnagar is divided into six assembly constituencies,
SP-Congress – Gaurav Swarup Bansal
BSP – Rakesh Kumar Sharma
BJP – Kapil Dev Agarwal
RLD – Payal Maheshwari
BSP – Saeeda Begam
BJP – Umesh Malik
RLD – Yograj Singh
SP – Pramod Tyagi
BSP – Noor Saleem Rana
BJP – Vijay Kumar Kashyap
RLD – Salman Zaidi
SP – Mukesh Kumar Chaudhary
BSP – Shivan Singh Saini
BJP – Vikram Singh
RLD – Shahnawaz Rana
SP – Chandan Singh Chauhan
BSP – Nawazish Alam Khan
BJP – Avtar Singh Bhadana
RLD – Mithleshpal
SP – Liyakat Ali
BSP – Anil Kumar
BJP – Pramod Utwal
RLD – Choti
Congress – Deepak Kumar
SP – Uma Kiran