Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav To Contest Lok Sabha Polls From UP's Kannauj

Kannauj was a Samajwadi Party stronghold - it was won by Akhilesh Yadav's father, Mulayam Singh in 1999, by Mr Yadav in 2000, 2004, and 2009, and his wife, Dimple in 2012 and 2014 - till the BJP's Subrat Pathak won it for his party in the 2019.

Samajwadi Party boss and former UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav (File).


Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav will contest the 2024 Lok Sabha election from Uttar Pradesh's Kannauj - the seat that sent him to Parliament thrice and also voted for his wife, Dimple Yadav, and Mulayam Singh Yadav, the late SP patriarch - his party said Wednesday in a post on X.

Mr Yadav, a former UP Chief Minister, will file his papers at noon tomorrow, the SP said. He also won the Azamgarh seat in 2019, but quit after he was elected to the UP Assembly from Karhal in 2022.

Speculation the SP leader will return to the Lok Sabha battlefield had been doing the rounds. Earlier today SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav was quoted as saying the decision had been taken.

Mr Yadav's proverbial homecoming will mean SP leader Tej Pratap Singh Yadav, who was named as the candidate earlier this week - will not contest. Tej Pratap Yadav is Akhilesh Yadav's nephew; he is the grandson of Mulayam Yadav's brother Ranveer, and won the Mainpuri seat in the 2014 election.

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Sources said the switch was the result of discontent among SP workers on the ground, who were keen that the party boss contest the family seat. Mr Yadav had originally opted against contesting this election since he wanted time to plan the overall strategy.

Kannauj was a Samajwadi Party stronghold till the BJP's Subrat Pathak won it - by fewer than 14,000 votes - in 2019. The seat was won by Akhilesh Yadav's wife in a bypoll in 2012. She retained it in the 2014 election, but lost it to Mr Pathak five years later. Mrs Yadav was later fielded from Mainpuri in the 2022 bypoll due to the death of Mulayam Singh Yadav. She won by nearly three lakh votes.

She has been re-nominated from the Mainpuri seat.

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Akhilesh Yadav won the seat in the 2000 bypoll and retained it in the 2004 and 2009 general elections, winning by more than three lakh and 2.5 lakh votes respectively.

The SP is allied with the Congress-led INDIA bloc in this election. It is contesting the lion's share - 63 - of UP's 80 Lok Sabha seats. The other 17 have been allotted to the Congress.

This includes that party's bastion of Raebareli and Amethi, for which candidates have yet to be named amid buzz that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra could make her poll debut in the latter and Rahul Gandhi could return for a third match-up with the BJP's Smriti Irani in the former.

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UP's 80 seats are the most of any state, making it a crucial battleground for the BJP's 'abki baar, 400 paar' efforts, and the opposition's attempts to stop Prime Minister Narendra Modi claiming a third consecutive term.

Kannauj will vote in the fourth phase of the 2024 election, i.e., on May 13. Results for all seven phases - the first was on April 19, the second will be on Friday - will be declared on June 4.

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