- Shyama Charan Gupta will contest from Banda as Samajwadi Party candidate
- In 1999 he contested Lok Sabha polls from Banda but lost to BSP candidate
- Mr Gupta contested as a BJP candidate from Allahabad and won in 2014
In a blow to the BJP, its lawmaker from Uttar Pradesh's Prayagraj today resigned and joined Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party. Shyama Charan Gupta will contest the Lok Sabha elections from Banda as a Samajwadi Party candidate. A former Samajwadi Party man, Mr Gupta had contested Lok Sabha elections from Banda on a Samajwadi Party ticket in 1999 but had lost to a candidate from Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party. He, however, won from Banda in 2004.
Mr Gupta had contested from Phulpur in 2009 as a Samajwadi Party candidate but lost the elections.
A prominent Baniya leader in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Mr Gupta contested as a BJP candidate from Allahabad, now known as Prayagraj, in 2014 and won.
The announcement of Mr Gupta's switch comes hours before the BJP is to release its first list for the Lok Sabha elections.
This comes as a major boost for Akhilesh Yadav's party that is contesting the elections in alliance with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party.
The BSP and SP had been the two main contenders in Banda for the last two decades. The BJP, however, won the polls in 2014. With no opposition from the BSP, Mr Gupta would have a direct confrontation with the BJP.
Mr Gupta will also pose a challenge to the Congress in-charge for eastern Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The Congress has so far not announced their candidate for the constituency.
The national elections will be held in seven phases starting April 11. Results will be counted on May 23.
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