Amid speculation of Congress general secretary in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi, contesting from the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the SP-BSP-RLD alliance Monday announced Shalini Yadav as its joint candidate for the constituency.
SP leader Shalini is the daughter-in-law of late Shyamlal Yadav, former Congress MP from Varanasi and Union minister. She was Congress’s mayoral candidate in Varanasi in 2017 and had secured around 1.14 lakh votes in the election she lost.
She joined the SP on Monday, in the presence of its president Akhilesh Yadav. Besides, the SP announced Sanjay Chauhan as its candidate from Chandauli. Chauhan is said to be a prominent leader from his community in the Lok Sabha constituency.
SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said this would be the first parliamentary election for Shalini and Chauhan.
“I had problems with the working and the broken promises of the Congress. The party (Congress) always said that it would only bring good people and not parachute candidates, but it was not happening. They (Congress leaders) say ‘chowkidar chor hai’ but they themselves are giving ticket to bahubalis (musclemen)… I am happy that Akhileshji showed faith in me and sent me to Varanasi to fight against the prime minister,” Shalini told The Indian Express.
Congress Varanasi district president Prajanath Sharma, however, claimed that Shalini was recently removed from the party as she was involved in anti-party activities.
“Shalini was already removed from the primary membership of the party because we were getting information of her . anti-party activities. She had been demanding Congress ticket and was not given,” Sharma said.
An English graduate from Banaras Hindu University, Shalini also has a degree in fashion designing from Delhi. Before her switch, her husband, Arun Yadav, had also left the Congress to join the SP.