Lok Sabha elections 2019: ‘Not in race for PM’s post,’ says Mulayam Yadav after filing nomination from Mainpuri
Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, accompanied by his son Akhilesh Yadav, filed his nomination from Uttar Pradesh’s Mainpuri on Monday afternoon for the Lok Sabha elections.
Mulayam Singh Yadav, the 79-year-old founder of SP, ruled himself out of the prime ministerial race. When asked who is the PM candidate of the SP-BSP alliance, he said, “It will be decided after the polls”.
On the eve of Mulayam filing his nomination, Akhilesh Yadav in Saifai had said that Mulayam will win by the biggest margin of votes in the country.
Relations between Mulayam Yadav and Akhilesh have been frosty ever since the son took control of the party more than two years ago. Mulayam didn’t campaign for SP in the 2017 assembly polls and often admonishes Akhilesh in public. Last month, Mulayam appeared to criticise Akhilesh for delay in naming candidates for the parliamentary polls and also questioned his alliance with Mayawati’s BSP.
Congress as well as the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia (PSP-L) of Mulayam’s brother Shivpal Yadav are not fielding any candidate against the SP founder in Mainpuri. The BSP is fighting the elections together with SP, while BJP is yet to decide on a candidate against Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Mulayam Yadav won Mainpuri with huge margins in 1996, 2004, 2009, and 2014. Samajwadi Party has won the seat eight times, including bypolls, in a row since 1996. BJP could never win the seat.
Mainpuri is going to polls in the third phase, the notification for which was issued on March 28. The last date for filing nominations is April 4. So far, Mulayam Singh Yadav has been the only candidate who has filed nomination for the seat. The constituency largely has rural voters, with over 35% Yadavs.
Mulayam Yadav, who had been UP chief minister thrice, is still called ‘Mukhya Mantri’ by many in Mainpuri. He nurtured the constituency well and his ancestral village is part of this constituency. The village has a medical college, a medical research institute, an international cricket stadium, international all-weather swimming pool, two more stadia, airstrip, and more. During his term as UP chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav added the Agra-Lucknow Expressway to the list. The expressway passes through Mainpuri.
In 2009, Mulayam polled 3,92,308 votes (56.44%) and the first runner-up, BSP’s Vinay Shakya, was way behind with 31% vote share. Even during the Modi wave in 2014, when the BJP won 71 seats, Mulayam Singh Yadav won sailed through in Mainpuri. In fact, his vote share rose further. In 2014, Mulayam bagged 5,95,918 votes (60%) and his nearest rival, BJP’s Shatrughan Singh Chauhan, got only 23.14% vote share.
Samajwadi Party leaders say that because of BSP being an ally, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s vote share would go up further. If we combine the vote share of SP-BSP of 2014, it comes to a whopping 74%.
The constituency is now waiting for April 19, when Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, and Rashtriya Lok Dal president Ajit Singh will hold a joint rally for Mulayam’s victory.
Apart from Mainpuri, Mulayam Singh Yadav had won parliamentary polls from Sambhal, Kannauj, and Azamgarh. In Mainpuri, he won four times (1996, 2004, 2009, and 2014); Sambhal twice (1998 and 1999); Kannauj once (1999), and Azamgarh once (2014). Twice he contested and won on two seats: In 1999 on Sambhal and Kannauj (later vacated); and in 2014: Mainpuri (later vacated) and Azamgarh.