Sidelined in the Samajwadi Party in the wake of infighting, Shivpal Singh Yadav today pulled through a comfortable victory in his traditional seat, amid a BJP wave. The 61-year-old SP veteran won the party stronghold Jaswantnagar defeating his nearest BJP rival Manish Yadav Patre by a margin of 52,616 votes. Though Yadav had been making all out effort to surpass his previous showing, there was a minor drop in the votes polled in his favour.
Last time he had got 1,33,563 votes and his margin stood at 81,084, but this time he polled 1,26,678 votes.
It would, however, come as a consolation for Shivpal who was fighting to redeem his lost pride in his native constituency, that his victory has repulsed challenge posed to his leadership, more from within the party than outside.
“This defeat is neither that of Samajwadi Party nor that of Samajwadis but of arrogance,” Shivpal said while commenting on the bad showing by his party in the state indicating the bad treatment given to party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and he himself at the hands of the new leadership in the party.
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After being pushed to the corner, Shivpal saw a silver lining in the sympathy of the voters here with whom he had had a personal association for decades.
Despite being unceremoniously dropped from the ministry, he has remained ‘mantriji’ here and had been going about reminding voters of his works and the personal help that he has rendered to the locals.
But for the support of Mulayam Singh who had addressed two rallies for him here, Shivpal had walked all alone throughout the campaigning and there were also reports of a concerted move by vested interests in the party to ensure his defeat.
Jaswantnagar, part of Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat, was represented by Mulayam who had won the seat first time in 1967.
Winning it for eight terms — he lost on two occasions — he left it for Shivpal, who has won it continuously since 1996.
According to locals, Manish Yadav Patre fielded by the BJP also had the tacit support of some in the SP to break Shivpal’s winning run to settle scores.