As wife Dimple Yadav wins seat held by Mulayam by record margin, Akhilesh says…
Mainpuri Lok Sabha bypolls: Dimple Yadav was pitched as the Samajwadi Party candidate from Mainpuri following Mulayam Singh Yadav's death.
Dimple Yadav, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s wife, has registered a glorious win in the prestige battle for the Samajwadi Party’s stronghold in Uttar Pradesh’s Mainpuri. The seat was vacated following the death of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh’s father, in October. Challenging her was the BJP’s Raghuraj Singh Shakya, said to be a former close associate of Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle Shivpal Yadav.
Dimple Yadav has won with a huge margin of 2,80,000 votes. The husband-wife duo - soon after the magnificent win - addressed a presser.
"Voters have endorsed the politics of Netaji (his father) and development he did in Mainpuri, we will take it forward. The administration created pressure but voters defied it," Akhilesh Yadav said, taking a dig at the Yogi Adityanath government.
Alleging injustice against SP candidate in Rampur, he said: "If it had been fair election in Rampur, it would have been a historic win."
Rampur has been bastion of the SP's Azam Khan. Mainpuri is giving a "message for the 2024 election," he stressed, and added: "Followers of Dr Ambedkar and Lohia ensured our victory in Mainpuri." Thanking uncle Shivpal Yadav for standing with them, he said with the merger with his uncle's party with the SP, "We will fight inflation and corruption."
In 2019 Lok Sabha election, Mulayam Singh Yadav - also called Netaji by his admirers- had won by margin of 94,000 votes when even the BSP was in alliance with his party and he had declared it his last election. He had won the seat five times before that.
Polling in Mainpuri was held on Monday apart from two assembly seats in the state - Rampur and Khatauli. The state witnessed sparring between the Samajwadi Party and the BJP as they accused each other for breach of code of conduct. Akhilesh Yadav and his party accused the security forces of acting at the behest of the ruling party while the BJP accused the SP of hooliganism. “The district administration in Mainpuri is acting at the behest of the ruling party,” Yadav told reporters in Mainpuri on Monday, “It seems police have been briefed not to allow SP workers to vote in Mainpuri and Rampur. Police have been biased since campaigning and were deployed to stop party supporters from coming to our meetings,” he alleged.
Leaders of both the parties also approached the Election Commission officials. Earlier this year, when the state elections were held in Uttar Pradesh, Yadav had made allegations against the BJP, accusing the party of violating the code of conduct.
Meanwhile, Mainpuri witnessed a high-pitched battle ahead of the elections. The Samajwadi Party’s MP - Ram Gopal Yadav - on the voting day went on to claim that Dimple Yadav will break Mulayam Singh Yadav’s records in the constituency. "Dimple Yadav (party's candidate for the by-election) will win with three times more votes than what Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) used to get," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. Mulayam Singh Yadav died at the age of 82 following a long spell of illness.
Following his death, Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav - whose ties had soared following the conclusion of February-March state elections - mended their ties as Shivpal Yadav was seen backing daughter-in-law Dimple amid intense campaigning.
He also drew attacks from UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who accused him of switching sides after what appeared to proximity between him and the BJP earlier this year.
But this and the downgrading of his Shivpal's security just further prompted pushback from Akhilesh and Shivpal. “If BJP candidate Raghuraj Singh Shakya considers me a ‘guru’ (master), then as a good ‘shishya’ (disciple) he should not have contested against my daughter-in-law. Raghuraj Singh kept me in the dark and betrayed me,” Shivpal was quoted as saying amid campaigning.
A massive three-tier security arrangement was put in place ahead of the counting of votes for the high-profile constituency with the Central Para Military Force (CPMF) guarding the isolation cordon while the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) taking care of security in the inner ring and the police managing the outer cordon at the counting venue, HT reported earlier.
(With agency inputs)