UP polls: Akhilesh Yadav hints he’s open to contesting assembly seat for first time

Will need permission of people of Azamgarh who elected me to the Lok Sabha, says SP chief Akhilesh Yadav
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav at a press conference in Lucknow on Wednesday. (Deepak Gupta/HT)
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav at a press conference in Lucknow on Wednesday. (Deepak Gupta/HT)
Published on Jan 19, 2022 09:19 PM IST
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By, Lucknow

Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday hinted he was open to contesting his first-ever election to an assembly seat in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh polls.

“If I decide to contest, I will contest (2022 assembly election) with the permission of the people of Azamgarh. I will need permission of the people of Azamgarh who got me elected to the Lok Sabha,” Akhilesh Yadav said to the media at the Samajwadi Party headquarters here.

Asked about contesting from a seat in Azamgarh, Akhilesh Yadav said the seat from where he may contest should go to polls before the Gorakhpur seat.

“I will request the people of Azamgarh (for permission) and contest the poll from where the party decides. The election to seat (from where I contest) should be held before Gorakhpur so that I contest the poll before Yogi Ji,” said Akhilesh Yadav.

Azamgarh will go to polls in seventh phase (March 7) and the Gorakhpur seat in the sixth phase (March 3).

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath will contest the election to the state assembly from Gorakhpur (urban), where the Gorakhnath Math is located. Yogi is also the chief priest of the Math. After having won the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat five times, Yogi is now an MLC.

Akhilesh Yadav is the Samajwadi Party MP from Azamgarh. He had earlier indicated he would not contest the 2022 assembly elections. If Akhilesh Yadav contests the assembly polls, he will be doing so for the first time. As chief minister from 2012 to 2017, Akhilesh Yadav opted to be a member of the state legislative council. Yadav’s move to contest the state assembly elections is bound to make the fight for power in 2022 UP polls more interesting.

With Yogi Adityanath himself in the fray, it will be after a gap of nearly 15 years that any serving chief minister will be contesting the election to lower house of state legislature.

As chief minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav had won the by-election from the Gunnaur assembly seat in 2004. Mulayam Singh Yadav also won the Gunnaur seat in the 2007 assembly elections but the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) got a majority and formed the government.

Uttar Pradesh BJP spokesman Avnish Tyagi said, “By saying that he (Akhilesh Yadav) needs permission of the people of Azamgarh, Akhilesh Yadav is trying to evade contesting the assembly elections. He does not have faith in people and thus making efforts not to contest assembly elections.”

FEELERS TO BJP MLA AGARWAL

Replying to a question, Akhilesh Yadav used the occasion to send feelers to BJP MLA Radha Mohan Das Agarwal to get in touch with the SP as he may be feeling disgruntled after being denied a BJP ticket. “If he (Agarwal) is in touch with you, meet me separately,” Akhilesh Yadav said in a lighter vein while responding to a question from the media. Agarwal is the MLA from Gorakhpur (urban) seat from where chief minister Yogi Adityanath will contest the 2022 UP assembly election.

SAMAJWADI PENSION SCHEME TO BE RELAUNCHED

Akhilesh Yadav used the occasion to announce his party’s plan to relaunch the Samajwadi Pension Scheme if voted to power.

“We launched Samajwadi Pension Scheme for the poor when in government. We will relaunch the Samajwadi Pension Scheme and give them a sum of 18,000 per annum in place of 6000 per annum paid earlier. This scheme was providing financial support to 50 lakh families,” Akhilesh Yadav said, while recollecting a number of instances of how the scheme, along with Samajwadi Lohia Awas, benefited the people.

Akhilesh Yadav also referred to families of snake charmers living near SGPGI, whose land was taken away and how his government decided to link them to Samajwadi Pension Yojana. He said a village of snake charmers would be set up near Kannauj adjacent to the Agra-Lucknow expressway as announced earlier.

“We decided to set up a village of snake charmers and land was identified near the expressway. We will set up this village for snake charmers when in power,” said Yadav.

He also announced that the people of all the castes having a large number of poor people would also be linked to the Samajwadi Pension Scheme.

Akhilesh Yadav accused the BJP of speaking bundles of lies and said it was during the tenure of his government that the maximum number of bank accounts were opened, along with the maximum number of bank branches.

WILL CONVEY GOOD WISHES TO APARNA: SP CHIEF

About Aparna Yadav’s decision to join the BJP Yadav said he would convey his good wishes to her. He said SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav made efforts to convince her to stay back.

“First of all, I will congratulate and extend my good wishes. I am happy it’s expansion of the Samajwadi Party’s ideology. I hope our ideology will help save democratic institutions. Netaji Mulayam Singh Yadav made all efforts to convince her to stay back… I am happy they are giving ticket to the ones who are not able to get a ticket from the Samajwadi Party.”

PLIGHT OF COWS

Akhilesh Yadav also targeted chief minister Yogi Adityanath and his government for what he called failure to feed the cows.

“One of his favourite works was feeding animals. Mother cow is hungry now. They will have to face the curse of mother cow’s hunger,” Akhilesh Yadav. He said the Samajwadi Party manifesto, when released, would have schemes for women. The BJP government had decided to bring down to 50 percent the power bills of tube wells after four-and- a-half years, he observed.

“Will they refund half of the double amount charged in past four-and-a-half year?” he asked. On this occasion Bhanu Pratap Singh of the Rashtriya Janhit Sangharsh Party announced unconditional support to the Samajwadi Party led alliance along with many others.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Umesh Raghuvanshi is a journalist with over three decade experience. He covers politics, finance, environment and social issues. He has covered all assembly and parliament elections in Uttar Pradesh since 1984.

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