Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav will contest the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, news agency ANI quoted a party source as saying. He had earlier said he would not contest the polls and would prefer to focus on every seat in the state.
Experts believe that Yadav – the chief of a party which is seen as a tough challenger to the ruling party in UP – was under pressure after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath decided to contest the polls for the first time. He will contest from Gorakhpur Sadar in eastern UP and the BJP is hopeful of making big electoral gains in the region by fielding him.
Yadav – a Lok Sabha MP from Azamgarh – has never contested a state election. While it is reported that he might contest the polls this time, the seat from which he will fight is yet to be decided. NDTV quoted sources saying that he may either contest from a seat in eastern UP or from a constituency in central UP like Lucknow.
Reports of Akhilesh Yadav mulling to contest the UP polls come on a day when his sister-in-law Aparna Yadav is tipped to join the BJP in Delhi. If Aparna joins the BJP, it will be a big blow to the Samajwadi Party, which has recently received a shot in the arm with three BJP ministers and several MLAs quitting the BJP to join the Yadav camp.
In November, Akhilesh Yadav had told reporters he would not contest the election. “I will not be contesting the assembly election myself,” the Samajwadi MP had been quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
In 2012, Yadav had led the Samajwadi Party to a victory in UP, dethroning the Mayawati-led BSP government, thereby becoming the youngest chef minister at 38. Later, he took the route of the state Legislative Council. His wife Dimple Yadav was elected unopposed from the seat he vacated, Kannauj.