The Samajwadi Party (SP) would set aside the loyalty factor and embrace the winnability formula for the bypolls in 12 Assembly seats that have been vacated after the election of their MLAs to the Lok Sabha. The party is also open to party hoppers if they stand a good chance to win.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has deputed party leaders to prepare a ground report for these seats. “Whoever is in a strong position to win the seat will be preferred, even it means importing that person from other parties,” an SP leader who has been entrusted with the responsibility of Lucknow East seat said. BJP’s leader Sudhanshu Trivedi is expected to contest from here.
The party’s target is to bag at least eight seats. For the SP leaders who lost the 2012 Assembly elections from these seats, a clear instruction has been sent out not to come to Lucknow for lobbying as the candidature will be decided on the basis of the ground report.
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The SP is very keen on winning Rohaniya seat that has been vacated by Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel after her win in the Lok Sabha elections from Mirzapur. The seat is prestigious as it falls in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Varanasi parliamentary seat.
In western UP, where two seats — Kairana and Bijnor — are going to the polls, SP’s Lok Sabha candidates were in second position.
In Saharanpur, the SP is eying Imran Masood who contested as Congress candidate and lost to Raghav Lakhanpal. Former MLA Sanjay Garg, who recently joined the SP, is a probable candidate and shares good relations with Imran. In fact, Garg was all set to join Congress during elections but backed out following Imran’s controversial speech. Winning at least one seat from the western region will provide some succour to the SP, which is facing the stigma of Muzaffarnagar communal riots.
SP leaders claim their party still has the chance of regaining its pride, as it had done well in these 12 assembly seats. The SP had led in one assembly segment, Thakurdwara in Moradabad, and was on second spot in five assembly segments — Kairana, Bijnor, Noida, Hamirpur and Balha. Congress was second in Saharanpur while BSP was second in Nighasan, Sirathu and Charkhari. Aam Aadmi Party was on second spot in Rohania. BJP led in 11 seats.
At present, 11 seats are held by BJP and one by Apna Dal. The seats which will witness bypolls include Uma Bharti’s Charkhari, Kalraj Mishra’s Lucknow East, Raghav Lakhanpal’s Saharanpur, Hukum Singh’s Kairana, Kunwar Bhartendu Singh’s Bijnor, Kunwar Sarvesh Singh’s Thakurdwara, Dr Mahesh Sharma’s Noida, Ajay Mishra Teni’s Nighasan, Sadhvi Niranjana Jyoti’s Hamirpur, Keshav Maurya’s Sirathu and Savitri Phule’s Balha — all from BJP.