The picturesque Aonla, the birth place of Panchali of the epic Mahabharata, is heading for a triangular contest in the April 17 lok Sabha elections in the Rohelkhand region.
Former Union Minister and Congress candidate Saleem Sherwani is pitted against Samajwadi Party candidate Sarvaraj Singh and former UP Minister and BJP candidate Dharmendra Kashyap in the elections whereas the present MP from the seat Maneka Gandhi of BJP has shifted to her old seat of Pilibhit.
Thakur candidates have won the seat maximum of 8 time while other caste candidate won the seat in the remaining period. The constituency is dominated by Muslim, Thakur, Dalit, Brahmin, Kashyap and Kurmi communities and altogether 13 candidates are in the fray to test their luck this time.
BJP has won for the seat four time, Congress three times, two time by the Samajwadi Party and one each by two other parties. The Aonla seat also gave opportunity to the women candidate three time.
SP candidate Sarwaraj Singh has represented the seat thrice and was receiving a tough challenge by BJP’s Dharmendra Kashyap and Congress candidate Salim Sherwani. The BSP candidate Sunita Shakya was still to make her impact in the elections.
The BJP candidate had represented the Bithrichainpur Assembly segment twice and in the last 2009 elections Kashyap, who contested on SP ticket lost to BJP’s Maneka Gandhi by just 9000 votes.
Congress candidate Saleem Sherwani, a native Allahabad and an industrialist by profession, was Minister in the Third Front Government during 1996 to 1998. He was lok Sabha member between 1996 to 2004. But the Congress had won the seat last time in 1984 when Kalyan Singh Solanki was successful.
later BJP won the seat in 1989, 1991 and 1998 while Sarvaraj Singh won it in 1996 and 1999 on SP ticket.The region known for its religious importance like the birthplace of Drapudi of Mahabharata and of the Jain gurus has also been described by the Chinese traveler Huing Sang in his travelogue.
Formed prior to the 1962 elections, the Parliamentary Constituency of Aonla at present comprises five Vidhan Sabha segments of which one is reserved for the SC category.The Aonla Parliamentary constituency has a total of 1,310,878 electorate out of which 578,766 are females and 732,112 are males. The region is still fighting for its backwardness though it is just 28 kilometers away from Bareilly.
Aonla houses 45,263 families and has a sex ratio of 883 females per 1,000 males and 15 per cent of the population is below the age of six. The city of Aonla has an average literacy of 79 per cent with male and female literacy at 91 per cent and 69 per cent respectively.