UP Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Akhilesh Yadav's Pursuit Of 'Revenge' In Kannauj Electoral Showdown Today

UP Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Akhilesh Yadav's Pursuit Of 'Revenge' In Kannauj Electoral Showdown Today

The fragrance of its famed perfume industry permeates the air, a testament to the region's resilience amidst changing political tides.

BISWAJEET BANERJEEUpdated: Saturday, May 11, 2024, 07:53 PM IST
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In the heartland of Uttar Pradesh, Kannauj, a political spectacle is unfolding as former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav braces himself for an electoral contest. The battleground is not just any constituency; it is a symbolic arena where familial legacies clash, and political fortunes are made or broken.

At the heart of this electoral drama lies a personal quest for redemption. Akhilesh Yadav's decision to contest from Kannauj is not merely a political maneuver but a poignant attempt to avenge his wife Dimple Yadav's defeat in the last elections. The sting of that loss still lingers, driving Akhilesh with a fervent resolve to reclaim Kannauj for the Samajwadi Party, a bastion nurtured by his father, Mulayam Singh Yadav.

"The wounds of defeat run deep, but so does our determination," declares Akhilesh Yadav, his voice resonating with unwavering resolve. "Kannauj is more than just a constituency; it's a symbol of our legacy, and we will not let it slip away."

In the 1990s, Mulayam Singh Yadav strategically expanded his influence in Kannauj, a constituency dominated by Yadavs and Muslims, transforming it into a stronghold for the Samajwadi Party's first family. Over the course of 16 elections held in Kannauj since 1967, Yadav-affiliated candidates emerged victorious 10 times, while non-Yadav candidates secured victory on six occasions. Notably, the Samajwadi Party clinched victory in this seat seven times, cementing its significance in the political landscape of Uttar Pradesh.

Across the political divide, BJP's Subrat Pathak is gearing up for what he terms a "high-voltage contest," drawing parallels to an India-Pakistan cricket match. "I am ready to throw googlies which Samajwadi Party will not be able to read,” asserts Pathak, exuding confidence in his ability to thwart Akhilesh's ambitions.

Local journalists paint a picture of a grudge match, where past defeats fuel present ambitions. "Akhilesh's candidacy this time is fueled by a desire to avenge his wife's defeat in the last elections," observes Ram Mani Mishra, a seasoned journalist in Kannauj.

Indeed, the stakes couldn't be higher. Kannauj, a constituency steeped in political history, has long been synonymous with the Samajwadi Party's dominance. For decades, the Yadav family has held sway, turning it into a formidable bastion of their political power. Yet, cracks began to appear in this fortress in 2019 when Subrat Pathak, a BJP candidate, dealt a significant blow by defeating Dimple Yadav, breaking the family's winning streak.

Akhilesh's Struggle In Kannauj

The loss reverberated through the Yadav clan, marking a turning point in their political fortunes. Mulayam Singh Yadav, the patriarch of the family, witnessed this setback before his passing in 2022, leaving behind a legacy tarnished by defeat.

Now, as Akhilesh Yadav returns to Kannauj for the fourth time, he faces a Herculean task—to reclaim what was once considered his family's stronghold. It is a battle not just for political supremacy but for the preservation of Mulayam Singh Yadav's legacy, a legacy that hangs in the balance.

"I see this as a fight for our very identity," remarks Vijay Singh Yadav, an old-timer in the Samajwadi Party. "Kannauj is synonymous with the Yadav family, and we cannot afford to lose it."

Political Rivalry And Resilience In Kannauj

But the road to redemption is fraught with challenges. BJP's Subrat Pathak, hailed as a 'giant killer,' is leaving no stone unturned in his bid to retain the constituency. With the BJP's formidable machinery backing him, Pathak poses a formidable obstacle to Akhilesh's ambitions.

"It may come down to a razor-thin margin deciding the winner and the loser," remarks Dhirendra Mishra, a prominent 'attar trader.' In the 2014 election, Dimple Yadav secured victory over Subrat Pathak by a significant margin of 18,107 votes. However, in 2019, Pathak turned the tables, narrowly defeating Dimple by a margin of 12,353 votes.

Yet, amidst the political jousting, the spirit of Kannauj remains undaunted. The fragrance of its famed perfume industry permeates the air, a testament to the region's resilience amidst changing political tides. For generations, Kannauj perfume makers have persevered, their craft transcending the transient nature of politics.

"In Kannauj, our roots run deep," asserts Shailendra Saxena, a local eatery owner. "Regardless of political affiliations, our allegiance lies with those who uphold our values and traditions." Polling in Kannauj is on May 13.

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