Akhilesh hints at contesting UP elections
Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday hinted that he may contest the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, the first time he will be doing so.
“If I decide to contest, I will contest (2022 assembly elections) with the permission of the people of Azamgarh, who got me elected to the Lok Sabha,” Yadav, the parliamentarian from Azamgarh, told reporters at SP HQ in Lucknow.
If he does contest, it won’t be from Azamgarh. Responding to a question on whether he would be doing so, Yadav said he would likely pick a constituency that goes to polls before Gorakhpur, from where chief minister Yogi Adityanath will contest his first assembly election. Polling at Azamgarh will take place in the seventh phase (March 7) while Gorakhpur will go to polls in the sixth phase (March 3).
“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 Yadav.
Elections for the 403 assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases on February 10, 14, 20, 23, 27 and March 3 and 7. The counting of votes will take place on March 10.
Adityanath, who is also the chief priest of the Gorakhnath Math in Gorakhpur, is currently a member of state legislative council. Adityanath has won the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat five times.
The SP chief had earlier indicated that he would not contest the assembly elections. When he was chief minister of Uttar Pradesh from 2012 to 2017, Yadav was member of the legislative council.
With Adityanath in the fray, this will be the first time in 15 years that a serving chief minister will contest the assembly election. Last time, it was former SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who contested and won the Gunnaur assembly seat in 2007. His party lost to the BSP in that election, though.
On Wednesday, Akhilesh Yadav also announced his party’s plan to re-launch the Samajwadi Pension Scheme if voted to power.
“We launched the Samajwadi Pension Scheme for the poor when in government. We will relaunch the scheme and give them ₹18,000 per annum in place of ₹6,000 per annum paid earlier. This scheme provided financial support to 5 million families,” Yadav said.
Meanwhile, talking about his sister-in-law Aparna Yadav’s decision to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the SP chief said he wants to convey his good wishes to her. He added that SP patriarch and his father 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 (BJP) are giving ticket to the ones who are not able to get a ticket from the Samajwadi Party,” he said.
Uttar Pradesh BJP spokesperson Avnish Tyagi said, “By saying that he (Akhilesh Yadav) needs permission of people of Azamgarh Akhilesh Yadav is trying to evade contesting assembly elections. He does not have faith in people and thus making efforts not to contest assembly elections.”