Former chief minister and Congress candidate Ram Naresh Yadav is fighting a tough battle in Phulpur constituency, where election will be held on May 8.
Ram Naresh Yadav, who has been representing this constituency since 1996, is originally a resident of Aundhipur village. He is also known by the endearing sobriquet 'Babuji' amongst his well-wishers.
"He has been addressing dozens of meetings in the scorching heat. This shows that he is facing the tough fight," said a voter Abid Hussain in Phulpur. Yadav's clean image is the only solace for the party.
Surprisingly, terror reigns supreme in this constituency, as the ruling Samajwadi Party has fielded Arun Kumar, son of Rama Kant Yadav, SP MP from Azamgarh. The people are not ready to discuss politics openly in view of the terror. Most voters avoided any discussion on politics.
Later, they hinted at supporting the SP candidate but finally they agreed that the Congress nominee was the only right candidate.
While the BSP has fielded Imran alias Hitler, the BJP has fielded Ram Surat Rajbhar. "Ram Naresh may not have done enough for his constituency, but he is the only candidate with a clean image in the fray," said Ram Davar, adding, "if the BSP candidate won, Phulpur will turn into another Mau which has become a hub of rioters and killers after Mukhtar Ansari won from there." For some villagers, dreaded mafia Mukhtar Ansari and controversial RJD MP Shahabuddin often visit BSP candidate Imran's house in Phulpur. Ram Naresh Yadav, it may be mentioned, was born on July 1,1928.
Ram Naresh Yadav won the Lok Sabha election from Azamgarh parliamentary constituency on the Janata Party ticket. However, he was made chief minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1977 and was elected to the UP Assembly from Nidhauli Kalam in Etah district. He won the assembly election as an independent candidate from Shikohabad in Ferozabad district.
However, he resigned from the assembly seat and was made the Rajya Sabha member of the Lok Dal. He left the Lok Dal and joined the Congress. Ever since then Yadav is with the Congress and won from Phulpur assembly constituency in 1996 and 2002 on the Congress ticket.
The nine assembly seats in Azamgarh district which will go to poll on May 8 are: Azamgarh Sadar, Phulpur, Gopalpur, Atrola, Sagri, Mubarakpur, Lalganj, Saraimer and Nizamabad.