Akhilesh Yadav, after much dilly-dallying, has decided to contest the Uttar Pradesh election, sources said today. He had earlier said he would not contest the polls and would prefer to focus on every seat in the state.
Akhilesh Yadav is the Lok Sabha MP from Azamgarh in eastern Uttar Pradesh and has never contest a state election. His seat has not been decided yet, sources say.
Sources said the pressure was on the Samajwadi Party chief and former Chief Minister after the BJP's Yogi Adityanath, the incumbent Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, decided to contest the state polls for the first time.
Yogi Adityanath will contest from Gorakhpur Sadar in eastern UP and the BJP assesses big gains in this region by fielding the priest-politician, who is the head of the influential Gorakhpur Mutt.
Reports of Akhilesh Yadav contesting the election come a day his sister-in-law Aparna Yadav is tipped to join the BJP in Delhi, going in the opposite direction after several key backward caste leaders from the BJP switched to the Samajwadi Party recently.
In November, Akhilesh Yadav had told reporters he would not contest the election. But his party rushed to clarify that such a decision had yet to be taken by the party.
"I will not be contesting the assembly election myself," the Samajwadi MP had been quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
In 2012, when he led the Samajwadi Party to a big victory in UP, he took over as the country's youngest Chief Minister at 38. He was a Lok Sabha MP from Kannauj at the time.
Later, he took the route of the state Legislative Council. His wife Dimple Yadav was elected unopposed from the seat he vacated, Kannauj.