Despite being elected to the Lok Sabha thrice, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who is a member of the Legislative Council (MLC), has not contested an assembly election so far. Akhilesh, who had hinted at contesting from at least two assembly constituencies, has now decided not to make his assembly election debut this year.
Party spokesperson Rajendra Chowdhary told HT, “No, he (Akhilesh) will not contest from any seat. He is busy leading and focusing on the party’s poll campaign. Besides, he doesn’t have to contest assembly elections as he is already a Member of Legislative Council (MLC).” Akhilesh was elected to the Upper House of the UP Assembly in 2012 and his tenure comes to an end on May 5, 2018.
On December 16, the UP CM had expressed his desire to contest from Babina in Bundelkhand and Kannauj assembly constituencies. Akhilesh, who represented Kannauj Lok Sabha, quit the seat in 2012 when he was chosen to lead the SP government. The parliamentary constituency is now represented by his wife Dimple Yadav. She once lost to Raj Babbar in Firozabad but was elected unopposed from Kannuaj when her husband vacated the seat.
“The idea to contest from Babina cropped up when a group of people from this constituency, which has been won by BSP since 2007, met the CM and urged him to fight from there,” recalls another SP leader.
Consequently, instead of choosing a seat which SP won in 2012, Akhilesh had hinted at contesting from this constituency to send a message to the cadre that he will be leading the party from the front. In 2012, the SP was far ahead of the BSP in all the regions except Bundelkhand where the latter won seven out of 19 seats.
The SP won five, the Congress four and the BJP three seats in the region.
“Bundelkhand is one the most backward regions of UP. It would have received a lot of attention and coverage in the media if the UP CM contested from there,” said an SP leader. Subsequently, Akhilesh had hinted that he may make his foray from an assembly segment from the region.
“Our party campaign, which started on November 3, got disrupted midway due to internal party tussle. The CM has kicked it off again today and now there no time left to cover all 403 assembly constituencies. This is one reason he (Akhilesh) has decided to drop the idea,” said a member of the SP chief’s team.