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Lok Sabha elections 2019: In UP, stakes high for Samajwadi Party in third phase of polling

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

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 22, 2019 17:03 IST
Hemendra Chaturvedi & Chandan Kumar
Hemendra Chaturvedi & Chandan Kumar
Hindustan Times, Agra/Bareilly
2019 election,Lok Sabha election 2019,Elections 2019
Samajwadi Party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati seen during their joint election campaign rally in Mainpuri, which goes to polls on April 23.(HT file photo)

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 Moradabad, Rampur, Sambhal, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etah, Badaun, Aonla, Bareilly and Pilibhit.

Political heavyweights like SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav, his 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 and Azamgarh seats in 2014 before vacating the former. His grandnephew Tej Pratap Singh Yadav won the Mainpuri bye-election.

Read: All you need to know about Lok Sabha elections 2019

The SP-BSP-RLD alliance has pulled out all the stops to gain maximum advantage in this round. As per the alliance’s agreement, the SP is fielding candidates on all the seats except Aonla where the BSP is banking on former SP MLA Ruchi Veera.

The alliance also held a historic joint rally in Mainpuri last week where former arch rivals BSP chief Mayawati and Mulayam shared a 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.

Read: From Amethi to Azamgarh, these UP seats have remained loyal to their parties and leaders

An emotional Mulayam also sought the 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 Mulayam’s nephew and son of Ram Gopal Yadav.

Akshay who is again contesting from Firozabad is 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.

Read: As SP bastions go to polls in Phase 3, Maya gears up cadre for smooth vote transfer

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 storm after a controversial remark against BJP candidate actor-politician Jaya Prada who had won the Rampur Lok Sabha seat twice on an SP ticket.

Azam drew widespread criticism for his comment and the Election Commission barred him from campaigning for 72 hours.

Winning Badaun will also be a matter of prestige for the SP whose sitting MP Dharmendra Yadav is locked in a triangular contest against Salim Shervani of the Congress and BJP’s Sangamitra Maurya, daughter of UP cabinet minister Swami Prasad Maurya.

First Published: Apr 22, 2019 17:03 IST

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