Aparna Yadav, the Samajwadi Party candidate contesting from Lucknow Cantonment, has a lot going for her. Not just the star campaigners of her own party, even top leaders of ally Congress have been seeking votes for her over the past few days.
A day after SP patriarch and her father-in-law Mulayam Singh Yadav and sister-in-law and Kannauj MP Dimple Yadav addressed rallies in Aparna’s constituency, her brother-in-law and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav along with Congress state in-charge Ghulam Nabi Azad addressed a joint public meeting in her support on Thursday.
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Aparna is the only candidate after Shivpal Singh Yadav for whom Mulayam has campaigned. When Akhilesh had announced her candidature, he had quelled rumours that she would not be given a ticket, which had been doing the rounds since he took over the reigns of the party. Addressing a gathering in Alambagh area on Thursday, he said, “Lucknow is VIP. But, if there is any double VIP seat, it is Lucknow Cantonment.”
The chief minister appealed to the gathering to ensure Aparna’s victory by a “huge margin”. He said that Lucknow Cantonment seat was won by Congress in the last election, but its leader (Rita Bahuguna Joshi) had switched over to another political party. If SP votes are added to Congress votes, Aparna will win by a big margin, he added.
Azad too urged the people to ensure Aparna’s victory, adding that Akhilesh is the CM candidate of two political parties.
Without taking Joshi’s name, he said that the leader who had earlier been elected from this constituency and was nurtured by Congress had left the party, and expressed the need to “teach such persons a lesson”. Therefore, election in Lucknow Cantonment was more important for Congress than SP, he added.
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UP Congress Committee president Raj Babbar and party Rajya Sabha MP Pramod Tiwari too had campaigned for Aparna on Monday. Besides Shivpal and Aparna, the chief minister’s cousin Anurag Yadav is also contesting from Lucknow’s Sarojininagar seat. Akhilesh and Dimple campaigned for him as well.
Canvassing for the third phase, which includes Lucknow, ends on Friday evening and polling will be held on Sunday.