On the occasion of International Women's Day, the Samajwadi Party today named three women -- including party chief Akhilesh Yadav's wife Dimple Yadav -- in its list of candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The 42-year-old will contest from Kannauj, a constituency from which she had already been elected in the 2012 bypolls and the 2014 general elections.
According to a press statement issued by the party, the other women candidates are 31-year-old Usha Verma (Hardoi) and 28-year-old Purvi Verma (Khiri).
"Samajwadi Party national president Akhilesh Yadav has said that women should be treated with respect in the socialist movement. (Socialist leader) Dr Ram Manohar Lohia placed special emphasis on the equality of women and men... Going by this, our government had launched special schemes for empowerment of women," a Facebook post by the Samajwadi Party said, before going to allege that women face atrocities under the BJP government.
The post went on to list the several women-centric initiatives launched by the previous Samajwadi Party government, as cited by Akhilesh Yadav during the International Women's Day function at Lucknow's Dr Lohia Auditorium. The worst victims of poverty, illiteracy and malnutrition in India are women, it quoted the former chief minister as saying, adding that the BJP government has failed them.
Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, his nephew Dharmendra Yadav and cousin Ram Gopal Yadav's son Akshay Yadav were among those named in the first list of six candidates released earlier in the day. While Mulayam Singh Yadav was fielded from the party's stronghold of Mainpuri, Dharmendra Yadav and Akshya Yadav got Badaun and Firozabad respectively.
Although the party had won just five of the state's 80 seats in the 2014, it expects to emerge victorious in alliance with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) this time. The party also announced candidates for three reserved constituencies -- Itawa, Robertsganj and Bahraich -- today.
According to the seat-sharing arrangement between the two parties, the Samajwadi Party will contest 37 seats and the BSP 38. They will leave the Amethi and Rae Bareilly constituencies for Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother, Sonia Gandhi, respectively.
(With inputs from ANI)