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Samajwadi Party goes all out to wrest Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat from BJP, cadre upbeat after ex-BSP MLA’s joining

LUCKNOW: Samajwadi Party (SP) has stepped up its electioneering ground work in Azamgarh as it eyes to wrest the Lok Sabha seat which it lost to the BJP in 2022 parliamentary bypoll.

The Azamgarh seat, which was held by SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav in 2014 and party president Akhilesh Yadav in 2019, was lost by the party when Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Dinesh Lal Yadav Nirahua won the 2022 bypoll defeating SP’s Dharmendra Yadav.

The bypoll was necessitated when Akhilesh Yadav resigned from the seat after winning from Karhal constituency in Mainpuri district in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.

As SP looks to win back this seat, the recent joining of former BSP leader Shah Alam alias Guddu Jamali has set the local SP cadre in Azamgarh upbeat. Jamali posed a challenge to SP in the earlier polls and mustered local support in his favour. A two-time BSP MLA (2012, 2017) from Mubarakpur seat of Azamgarh, this new SP joiner is considered to have a good following in the district. He had contested the 2014 and 2022 bypoll elections from Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat against SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav and Dharmendra Yadav, respectively, on a BSP ticket.

In the 2022 bypoll, Jamali had secured 2,66,210 votes from the constituency as BSP candidate, apparently on the back of the Muslim voters.

BJP’s Dinesh Lal Yadav Nirahua won that poll by securing 3.12 lakh votes, while SP’s Dharmendra Yadav got 3.04 lakh votes.

In the 2014 poll also, Jamali secured over 2.66 lakh votes from Azamgarh and was at third place, while Mulayam Singh Yadav won the seat securing 3.40 lakh votes.

Speaking to PTI, SP district president Havaldar Yadav said, ”This seat will be in our party’s favour this time. We have done a lot of ground work here.” Asked about Jamali joining the party, he said, ”Obviously, with him by our side, we will defeat the rivals. He has ground presence and a good following.” Jamali, who joined the SP on February 28, is a businessman and is active in the district with his presence.

Speaking to PTI on Saturday, Jamali said, ”I have joined the SP and will ensure that whosoever contests from the seat, wins.” ”I am a man of principles, I am here (in SP) due to the political scenario. I will remain here for my remaining life and make sure to do my best for the party,” he said.

While BJP has declared Bhojpuri star Dinesh Yadav Nirahua again from the Azamgarh seat, SP has not yet declared any candidate from this seat. It is likely to field party leader Dharmendra Yadav again from the seat.

Local BJP leaders, when contacted, said irrespective of the candidate from this seat, people have trust on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They exuded confidence that Nirahua will win from this seat again.

Since 1996, only Muslims and Yadavs have been winning the Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat.

Ramakant Yadav won the seat as a SP candidate in 1996 and 1999. He won it again as a BSP candidate in 2004 and on a BJP ticket in 2009. The seat was held by Akbar Ahmed Dumpy as a BSP candidate in 1998 and 2008 by-election.

In the 2014 general elections, despite the ”Modi wave”, Mulayam Singh Yadav succeeded in winning the seat and defeated Ramakant by 63,000 votes, securing 35.43 per cent of the votes. BJP’s Ramakant got 28.85 per cent of the votes, Jamali, then fielded by BSP, got 27.75 per cent.

SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav won the seat in 2019 defeating BJP’s Nirahua, who won the 2022 bypoll. SP and BSP were in alliance in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The Azamgarh Lok Sabha constituency has five assembly segments – Gopalpur, Sagri, Mubarakpur, Azamgarh and Mehnagar — all held by the SP at present.

 

Source: Press Trust of India

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