The party has already started preparations to make the rally a grand affair by mobilising workers from the entire eastern UP.
Mulayam’s decision to start poll campaign from eastern UP is significant as Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi too is set to kick off his ‘Kisan Yatra’ on Tuesday from Deoria — another eastern UP district touching Bihar border. Last month, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had held a roadshow in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi, which also falls in the same region.
BSP chief Mayawati, too, had addressed a rally on August 28 in Azamgarh — a district with significant Muslim population — where she raised the issue of a separate state of Poorvanchal. On Sunday, Mayawati held a rally in Allahabad, which is also considered part of eastern UP. Moreover, JD(U) president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had started his campaign by holding rallies in Varanasi, Mirzapur and Ghazipur.
BJP too had held its national executive meet in Allahabad in June and PM had addressed a rally there. The party has announced that it would contest Assembly elections in alliance with Apna Dal and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party — both based in eastern UP.
“The first public meeting of SP will be organised in Azamgarh division on October 7. It will be a mega rally,” said SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary. Asked why Azamgarh was chosen, he said: “The campaign had to start from somewhere and Azamgarh was selected randomly.”
Azamgarh division covers three district of Azamgarh, Ballia and Mau. All the districts are dominated by Muslims and backward caste voters. Mulayam had contested Lok Sabha elections from Azamgarh and Mainpuri in 2014 and won both the seats. He vacated Mainpuri, where he got 5.95 lakh votes, and retained Azamgarh.
Meanwhile, SP has already announced that Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will take out ‘Samajwadi Vikas Rath Yatra’ across UP to showcase the achievements of his government. While the yatra was announced on June 25, the party is yet to decide its schedule. Chaudhary said the programme would be finalised within a month.