UP Polls: SP throws a three-pronged challenge to BJP - Hindustan Times
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UP Polls: SP throws a three-pronged challenge to BJP

By, Lucknow
Feb 02, 2022 10:36 PM IST

SP makes it tough for Dy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya in Sirathu; fields Abhishek Mishra from Sarojini Nagar and moves Swami Prasad Maurya to Fazilnagar

The resurgent Samajwadi Party (SP) on Wednesday made three surprise and strategic moves in a bid to outsmart the BJP as it fielded union minister Anupriya Patel’s sister Pallavi Patel against UP deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya for the Sirathu seat, shifted ex-minister Abhishek Mishra to Sarojini Nagar seat where the BJP has fielded former ED joint director Rajeshwar Singh and moved ex-Yogi Adityanath minister Swami Prasad Maurya to Fazilnagar, a safer than his traditional Padrauna seat from where the BJP has fielded former Congress leader RPN Singh.

The Samajwadi Party (SP) on Wednesday made three surprise and strategic moves in a bid to outsmart the BJP in upcoming UP assembly polls. (PTI file)
The Samajwadi Party (SP) on Wednesday made three surprise and strategic moves in a bid to outsmart the BJP in upcoming UP assembly polls. (PTI file)

Sirathu assembly constituency is in Kaushambi, Sarojini Nagar in Lucknow and Fazilnagar in Kushinagar.

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Swami Prasad Maurya, who last month left the BJP for SP, will contest the upcoming state assembly elections from Fazilnagar seat, instead of the Padrauna seat that he represented for four straight terms since 2007.

Maurya, who joined the BJP in 2016 from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), will be up against the ruling party’s Surendra Kushwaha, the son of incumbent BJP MLA Ganga Singh Kushwaha.

Maurya was widely expected to face RPN Singh, who joined the BJP on January 25, from Padrauna which, like Fazilnagar, falls in the Kushinagar district.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Singh defeated Maurya from the Kushinagar parliamentary seat.

Ganga Singh Kushwaha had won the seat both in 2012 and 2017 for the BJP. The party replaced him with his son “because of the BJP’s overage factor.”

Both Swami Prasad Maurya and Surendra Kushwaha are OBCs.

By fielding Pallavi Patel, of Apna Dal (K), from Sirathu seat, the SP has cornered Keshav Prasad Maurya and made it a tough and interesting contest there. Both Keshav Prasad Maurya and Pallavi Patel are OBCs (other backward castes). Pallavi is daughter of Krishna Patel, the wife of late Sonelal Patel and sister of Anupriya Patel of Apna Dal (S) -- a BJP ally.

Krishna Patel, president of Apna Dal (K), had allied with the SP a few months earlier. Sirathu has a significant population of Patels.

On the Sarojini Nagar (Lucknow) seat, the SP has fielded Abhishek Mishra, the minister in Akhilesh Yadav’s previous government and one of the think tanks of both the previous SP government and the party.

Traditionally, Lucknow North was Abhishek’s seat, which he won in 2012 and lost in 2017. Now, the SP changed his seat. On the Lucknow North seat, the SP on Tuesday fielded firebrand students’ leader Pooja Shukla, 25, who had shown black flag to chief minister Yogi Adityanath in June 2017 at Lucknow University during a protest by some LU students while Yogi was going to the university to attend an event.

Lucknow police had then imprisoned Pooja Shukla along with a few other student protestors.

On the Sarojini Nagar seat, by fielding Abhishek Mishra, the SP has made it difficult for Rajeshwar Singh of the BJP.

Meanwhile, the BJP on Tuesday dropped sitting lawmaker and minister Swati Singh from the Sarojini Nagar seat, replacing her with Rajeshwar Singh, after he took voluntary retirement from the ED.

With three tickets announced on Wednesday morning and 12 in the evening, the total number of seats on which the SP has fielded candidates reached 287 while the BJP has declared 315 candidates.

Uttar Pradesh is going to polls from February 10 in the seven-phase elections for the 403-member assembly.

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