‘Manchester of East’ Kanpur Voters Seek Return of Lost Glory With 2024 Poll Battle

The people of Kanpur are hoping to pick a “true leader” who will restore the lost grandeur of the former industrial revolution powerhouse of India, also known as “Manchester of the East,” when they cast their ballots in the Lok Sabha Election 2024 on May 13.

While News18 traveled to Kanpur to gauge voter sentiment, the majority of respondents cited development, inflation, and unemployment as the three main concerns. However, several also praised the building of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, the state of peace and order in Uttar Pradesh, and the PM Modi-CM Yogi combination.

“Kanpur is managing on its own. Sabne Kanpur ko apne haal pe chhod diya.” Sarkarein aayi aur gayi, ne kaam kissi ne nahi kiya par Kanpur ko bachane ka. Kanpur is home to some of the oldest woolen mills from the Colonial period. “Governments came and went, but none changed the grim picture,” said Badri Prasad, a local who sells tea outside Kanpur’s famous Lal Imli.

According to Prasad, his father and grandparents worked at the mill that served as the focal point of the first Independence War during British colonial rule. Nevertheless, the mill eventually closed, leaving over 5,000 laborers behind as a result of its inability to adapt to the rapidly changing environment and loss of governmental interest. In addition to Lal Imli, Prasad said that over a dozen other mills, including Elgin, Jute, and Muir, had closed in the previous 50 years, severely affecting the livelihoods of their employees.

Although the locals now claim that the mills are gone, the city’s subpar development is still a major polling concern. “While inadequate development of the former Manchester of the East is a problem, industrial growth may not be a major issue in the modern day. Over the last 20 years, Kanpur has not seen any significant infrastructure development, with the exception of the metro and other purely aesthetic enhancements implemented as part of the Smart City initiative. This is the only explanation for why Kanpur residents choose a leader who can accelerate infrastructure development and restore our lost grandeur over an MP, he said.

One of Kanpur’s most renowned educational institutions, PPN College, is located within one kilometer of Lal Imli. The biggest concern for the students here is unemployment, and they declare that they would vote for the party that offers young people jobs. Student Sudhanshu Shukla said, “I think that employment is the only issue that matters for youth.”

Even though Kanpur is the second-largest district in Uttar Pradesh, it is not nearly as developed as Lucknow, the state capital, which is just 100 kilometers away, according to another student. “One big problem is traffic congestion. To go to our institution on time, we have to leave our house early. However, no attempts have been taken to improve traffic flow in the city so far,” said a different student.

Another significant concern mentioned by many was inflation. The cost of vegetables, mustard oil, and other consumables was mentioned by housewife Madhu Garg as evidence of why buying delicacies was burning a hole in the aam aadmi’s budget.

“The costs of everything from cosmetics to everyday necessities, home products, and even veggies are out of control. She said that the government needs to halt inflation.

Locals praised UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s zero-tolerance policy toward crime and criminals, even if inflation was their main concern.

Homemaker Sudha Mishra, who lives in the Civil Lines region, stated: “I believe that the state of law and order in UP has been simplified.” We may now go without worry, even at the end of the night. The Yogi administration performed well.

The state’s safety was also praised by traders. We are secure with this administration. Compared to past regimes, there have been fewer crimes committed against merchants, according to Kanpur trader Mohanlal Chandani, who is from the Aryanagar region.

Voters were also moved by the building of the Ram Temple, applauding the BJP administration for the historic decision and claiming that “no previous government had enough courage” to take such a bold action.

The Kapur Legislative Seat
In Uttar Pradesh, the Kanpur parliamentary constituency, which includes the assembly seats for Govind Nagar, Sisamau, Arya Nagar, Kidwai Nagar, and Kanpur Cantt, is very important politically.

With 2,226,317 people living there according to the 2011 census, the constituency is home to significant numbers of Brahmin, Vaishya, Muslim, and Punjabi voters, in addition to 11.72 percent and 0.12 percent of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, respectively.

With 468,937 votes, Satyadev Pachauri of the BJP easily defeated Sriprakash Jaiswal of the INC by a wide margin of 155,934 votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. With 474,712 votes, Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi of the Bharatiya Janata Party defeated Jaiswal, who garnered 251,766 votes, in the 2014 election. In Kanpur, 835,125 people were registered to vote in 2014.

These election results highlight the BJP’s dominance in the Kanpur Lok Sabha seat. Congress’s task in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections will be to prevent the BJP from winning three straight seats in Kanpur.

Political analyst Dr Ramesh Verma, who is from Kanpur, said that the area is on the route to Delhi. The BJP has been quite present and has performed well in the Kanpur seat lately, as shown by the previous election results. The popularity of the candidate, party tactics, and regional dynamics, among other things, probably shaped voter choices and helped the BJP win elections in the area, he added.

Verma continued, saying that the Congress and BJP are at odds in Kanpur. He said, nevertheless, that it is too soon to assess the undercurrents since people are still deeply affected by the Modi-Yogi dynamic, Congress’s employment guarantee, and the “Karza Mafi.”

The Grand Old Party has expressed faith in Alok Mishra, while the BJP has nominated Ramesh Awasthi from the Kanpur Lok Sabha seat in the 2024 elections. It will be interesting to see how the electorate reacts to these contenders in the much-awaited May 13 election contest.

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