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In UP, stakes high for Samajwadi Party in Lok Sabha Phase 3 elections 2019

The seats going to the polls on Tuesday include Moaradabad, Rampur, Sambhal, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etah, Badaun, Aonla, Bareilly and Pilibhit.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 23, 2019 07:43 IST
Hemendra Chaturvedi/Chandan Kumar
Hemendra Chaturvedi/Chandan Kumar
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Samajwadi Party,Lok Sabha Phase 3 elections 2019,Phase 3 elections 2019

While stakes were high for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the second phase of Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh, polling in 10 constituencies in the third round on April 23 will be a litmus test for the Samajwadi Party (SP).

The seats going to the polls on Tuesday include Moaradabad, Rampur, Sambhal, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etah, Badaun, Aonla, Bareilly and Pilibhit.

Political heavyweights like SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mulayam’s brother and Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia (PSPL) chief Shivpal Yadav, senior SP leader Azam Khan and actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada are in the fray.

Mulayam had won Mainpuri along with Azamgarh in 2014 and had vacated the former. He introduced his grandson Tej Pratap Yadav who won the by-election.

The SP-BSP-RLD alliance is firing on all cylinders to derive maximum advantage in this round. As per the alliance agreement, the SP is fielding candidates on all the seats except Aonla, where too the BSP is banking on former SP MLA Ruchi Veera.

The alliance also held a historic joint rally in Mainpuri where arch rivals BSP chief Mayawati and Mulayam shared the stage after 24 years. Mayawati hailed Mulayam as the real leader of the backward community and urged the people to ensure his victory by a record margin.

An emotional Mulayam also sought people’s support announcing that it would be his last election. He has won Mainpuri four times in the past.

Mulayam also has a strong bond with Firozabad constituency.

Akshay Yadav, the sitting MP from Firozabad is the nephew of Mulayam and son of Ram Gopal Yadav.

Though Akshay is again contesting from Firozabad but the seat will witness an interesting contest this time as he will be facing his uncle and president of newly-formed PSPL Shivpal Yadav.

The contest will remind many of the feud in the Yadav family where SP president Akhilesh Yadav is supporting his cousin Akshay.

In Etah, the sitting MP Rajveer Singh alias Raju Bhaiyya, son of former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and present Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh, is again in the fray.

Kalyan Singh was elected from the seat in 2009.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed an impressive rally in Etah on Saturday in support of Rajveer.

Another seat which is witnessing a pitched battle between the BJP and SP candidates is Rampur. SP’s nominee Azam Khan, who is fighting his first Lok Sabha election, found himself in the eye of a political storm after he issued a derogatory remark against BJP candidate actor-politician Jaya Prada.

Azam drew widespread criticism and taking note of the issue, the Election Commission barred him from campaigning for 72 hours.

Jaya Prada has won from Rampur Lok Sabha seat twice on SP ticket and has been fielded by the BJP this time.

Winning Badaun will also be a matter of prestige for the SP. Sitting MP Dharmendra Yadav will face BJP’s Sangamitra Maurya, daughter of UP cabinet minister Swami Prasad Maurya.

However, the battle has become triangular after the Congress announced a Muslim candidate Salim Shervani.

In Pilibhit, BJP’s Varun Gandhi is contesting the election on the promise of bringing new industries and jobs. In Bareilly, BJP minister Santosh Gangwar is fighting against Bhagwat Saran Gangwar who has been fielded by the alliance.

First Published: Apr 23, 2019 07:43 IST

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