Uttar Pradesh Lok Sabha Elections: Speculations Surrounding Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav's Candidacy In Kannauj Polls

Uttar Pradesh Lok Sabha Elections: Speculations Surrounding Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav's Candidacy In Kannauj Polls

The lack of clarity from the SP leadership has only served to intensify the suspense surrounding this matter.

BISWAJEET BANERJEEUpdated: Friday, March 29, 2024, 05:39 PM IST
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Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav | PTI

In the midst of mounting speculation regarding the potential candidacy of Tej Pratap Yadav in Kannauj, questions arise: Has Samajwadi Party (SP) Chief Akhilesh Yadav decided to abstain from the Lok Sabha race? The lack of clarity from the SP leadership has only served to intensify the suspense surrounding this matter.

Initially, it was conjectured that Akhilesh would vie for either the Azamgarh or Kannauj constituency. Both constituencies have historically supported the Yadav family. However, with the announcement of Mulayam's nephew, Dharmendra Yadav, as the candidate from Azamgarh, speculation turned towards Kannauj as Akhilesh's likely stronghold.

Nevertheless, recent reports suggest that Akhilesh intends to nominate Tej Pratap for Kannauj, citing his adept leadership during the recent crisis in Rampur. Tej Pratap, upon receiving a message from the SP chief, promptly left the election fray and arrived in Rampur to file his nomination.

This decision appeared to align with Azam Khan's preference for either Akhilesh or another member of the Yadav clan to contest from Rampur. However, subsequent developments led to Tej Pratap being replaced, and Maulana Mohibullah Nadvi was nominated from Rampur instead.

Tej Pratap Yadav, the grandson of Mulayam's elder brother Ratan Singh, has previously served as an MP from Mainpuri and is married to the daughter of RJD chief Lalu Prasad. Another name that emerged as a potential candidate was Bidhuna MLA Rekha Verma, whose candidacy was supported on the grounds that, in addition to the Yadav vote bank, the Lodh community held significant sway in key assembly segments of the Kannauj Lok Sabha seat.

The uncertainty surrounding Akhilesh's candidacy in Kannauj arose from his recent statement during a party meeting, where he expressed his intention to campaign for party candidates across the state instead of contesting his own election.

Responding to inquiries, SP chief spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary urged caution against premature conclusions, emphasizing the need to await a formal announcement from the party. Similarly, Kaleem Khan, the SP's Kannauj district president, affirmed ongoing preparations in the constituency guided by the party leadership's directives.

Kannauj constituency has consistently supported the SP's first family in six consecutive elections since 1999 when Mulayam was elected as MP. Akhilesh made his debut from Kannauj in a bypoll in 2000 and was subsequently re-elected in the 2004 and 2009 general elections. In 2012, Akhilesh's wife, Dimple Yadav, won a bypoll, followed by her victory in the 2014 elections. However, in the 2019 elections, BJP's Subrat Pathak secured the seat, defeating SP's Dimple Yadav. With the upcoming elections, the SP aims to reclaim its foothold in Kannauj.

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