In ‘safe seat’, Shivpal Yadav sweats it like a first-timer
In Jaswant Nagar, Shivpal’s margin of victory has been rising every election—in 2012, it was 82,000. But this time, Shivpal and son Aditya have been campaigning door-to-door, something they never did before.lucknow Updated: Feb 18, 2017 16:17 IST
In 1993, the then Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav contested the Jaswant Nagar assembly seat and won it by just 800 votes. His party was in alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) then.
He also won from Shikohabad but chose to retain the Jaswant Nagar seat. After that, Jaswant Nagar became the seat of his younger brother Shivpal Yadav, who never lost here. Shivpal’s victory margin has risen every election. In 2012, he won by 82,000 votes.
People in Jaswant Nagar say Shivpal’s victory was a foregone conclusion in previous elections and he did not have to toil much.
Cut to 2017. The scenario has changed for Shivpal after he lost a battle for control of the party to his nephew and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
This time, Shivpal has been campaigning with the zeal of a first-timer for the last 20 days. He left home at 7am every day and campaigned without a break till midnight, making do with ‘puri-subzi’ and tea.
“This was the way I campaigned when Netaji (Mulayam) contested elections here or elsewhere. For my seat, I hardly campaigned. I was a star campaigner of the party in previous elections. Most of my time was taken up in seeking votes for the party all over the state,” Shivpal said at a late night meeting of the Vaish Samaj.
By the time Shivpal reached the venue of the meeting, he looked quite weary.
His supporters distributed a glossy pamphlet with an emotional message: “We get both joy and sorrow from our own. I have had many moments of happiness. I had my share of sorrows too, but I always overcame them. Despite this, I have vowed not to leave my own. I have also vowed that I will never desert Netaji. Will not take any step without his consent. Everything that I did so far was under his approval...Now I am ready for a trial, a test. I am now alone amongst my own.”
Shivpal doesn’t talk about Akhilesh or his government on the campaign trail. He kept quiet even after Akhilesh’s attack on him at poll meetings in other constituencies of Mainpuri and Etawah on Thursday, the penultimate day of campaigning for the third phase of poll.
Akhilesh has not come to Jaswant Nagar since 2012 when he last campaigned for Shivpal. None of the party’s 40 campaigners has come here either. Only Mulayam did two public meetings for him.
Shivpal and his son Aditya have been going door-to-door for the last 20 days, something they never did before.
Shivpal is up against two other Yadavs. The BJP has fielded Manish Yadav and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) has put up Jagpal Singh Yadav to cut Shivpal’s votes. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has fielded Durgesh Shakya.
The constituency has 3.65 lakh voters of which nearly 1.15 lakh are Yadavs. There are 60,000 Shakyas and 75,000 scheduled caste voters.