Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav will contest Lok Sabha polls from Azamgarh parliamentary seat along with his traditional Mainpuri seat. SP’s national general secretary Ramgopal Yadav announced that the decision to field Mulayam from Azamgarh has been taken on the demand of party workers and leaders from various districts of Poorvanchal.
Politically, Mulayam’s decision to contest from Azamgarh is seen as a move to counter the Narendra Modi’s effect in eastern region of the state after BJP announced latter’s candidature from Varanasi. Several other SP candidates in adjoining seats are also likely to be changed by the party.
But Mulayam’s decision to contest from Azamgarh was brewing for past one month in party, much before Modi’s candidature was announced. The decision is more for preparing ground for another entrant from Yadav family. It is expected that Mulayam after winning from Azamgarh and Mainpuri will relinquish Mainpuri where his grandson Tej Pratap Singh alias Teju Bhaiyya may contest in the bye-polls. Mainpuri is regarded as a safe seat for SP. The developments are on similar lines when in 1999 Mulayam contested from Sambhal and Kannauj, won both, relinquished Kannauj for his son Akhilesh Yadav. Presently Tej Pratap is Mulayam’s representative in Mainpuri and campaigning on his behalf in the constituency. Mulayam’s son Prateek Yadav is also a contender for Mainpuri seat.
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With Azamgarh, it will be the first time that Yadav clan will be venturing in eastern region of the state for contesting election. Earlier, Panchayti Raj minister Balram Yadav was announced as candidate from Azamgarh but due to his severe opposition from workers, he declined to contest and the ticket was given to Hawaldar Yadav, the district unit president of SP. Mulayam’s candidature will also provide a face saving opportunity for senior minister Balram Yadav. It will also curb the severe infighting in the district among SP workers against Balram. Earlier Balram Yadav had tried to push the name of Prateek Yadav, the son of Mulayam and even dharnas were held outside SP office by people claiming to be belonging from Azamgarh. None of his trick succeeded.
Azamgarh holds special position for SP and party prefers to start its election campaign from the district. In 2012 assembly election SP had announced its first election meeting on January 1 though Mulayam could not attend it due to heavy rains. This time also Mulayam began his rallies from 29 October 2012 in Azamgarh. Presently SP holds nine out of ten assembly seats in Azamgarh district however Azamgarh parliamentary seats comprises assembly segments of Gopalpur, Sagdi, Mehnagar and Azamgarh all won by SP in 2012 assembly elections leaving only Mubarqpur which is represented by BSP’s Shah Alam alias Guddu Jamali who is also BSP candidate for parliament. SP had won Azamgarh in 1999 when Ramakant Yadav defeated Akbar Ahmed Dumpy. Presently, Ramakant is sitting BJP MP from Azamgarh and has been again fielded by BJP. SP sources claimed that Ramakant Yadav may withdraw and can be shifted to Jaunpur as SP candidate.
Mulayam is a five term MP and has been member of UP assembly eight times besides being CM of the state thrice. Presently, he is being projected as prime ministerial candidate by SP through the third front.