SP leaders face poll battle with family as opponentshttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/politics/sp-leaders-face-poll-battle-with-family-as-opponents/

SP leaders face poll battle with family as opponents

The SP had announced his candidature from Gonda, but later replaced him with MLA Nandita Shukla.

Half-a-dozen senior leaders of the Samajwadi Party are facing an uphill task as their family members have switched loyalties, deserting them in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The leaders, who have been entrusted with ensuring success of SP candidates, are busy convincing the party of their own loyalty.

Top in the list is Agriculture Minister Raja Anand Singh from Gonda. His son Kirtivardhan Singh, who is a two-term SP MP, joined the BJP on Thursday. Kirtivardhan had left SP after he was denied a ticket in 2009 and contested as a BSP candidate, but returned during the 2012 Assembly elections.

The SP had announced his candidature from Gonda, but later replaced him with MLA Nandita Shukla. Anand Singh is now in a tight spot and did his best by targeting the BJP during a recent function at the CM’s residence to prove his loyalty.

Another minister Manoj Pandey, who too up the cudgels of moulding Brahmins for SP, was elevated to Cabinet rank and later appointed state president of SP’s intellectual cell. On February 22, Manoj organised a conference of Brahmins and amidst blowing of conch shells in presence of Mulayam Singh, announced that Brahmins across the state will vote for SP.

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Hardly two days later, his sister-in-law Bharti Pandey deserted him and joined the BJP leaving him red faced. Now, Bharti Pandey has taken up the responsibility of campaigning against the minister at his district Rae Bareli.

Neeraj Shekhar, the son of former PM Chandrashekhar and MP from Ballia too has not been able to rein in his brother Pankaj Shekhar. Pankaj has joined the BJP and is a probable candidate from Salempur.

Another interesting case is of Tabassum Hasan, the BSP MP from Kairana. She left BSP to join SP, ensuring her son Naheed Hasan gets fielded from Kairana. But the BSP paid back in same coin and picked Naheed’s uncle Kunwar Hasan pitching them against each other.

Senior SP leader and former MP Ramji Lal Suman also failed to manage his brother. Suman, who is also the national general secretary of the party, is currently fielded from Hathras seat while his brother Narayan Singh Suman is the probable BSP candidate from Agra.

Minister Mehboob Ali, who was sulking and was elevated to Cabinet rank by CM Akhilesh Yadav, is also finding it hard as his brother Bhure is reportedly opposing SP candidate Humera Akhtar from Amroha.

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