Akhilesh Yadav to contest from father’s stronghold Azamgarh

Lucknow: Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav will contest upcoming election from eastern Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh, the party announced on Sunday. Azamgarh has been a family stronghold and Akhilesh’s father Mulayam Singh Yadav holds the seat.

The 79-year old party patriarch will fight from Mainpuri this time. The announcement comes days after ally Mayawati said that she would not be contesting the Lok Sabha elections.

This is the first time Akhilesh Yadav is contesting from eastern UP. Yadav’s decision to contest from Azamgarh is a direct replacement of his father in the constituency but also a strategic move to bolster the party’s hopes in the crucial east UP region where lie Varanasi and Gorakhpur, both important centres for the BJP.

Azamgarh has a substantial population of Yadavs, Jatavs and Muslims, the three communities who form the crux of the SP-BSP alliance in the state. While Yadavs are the most dominant OBC caste, Jatavs are more than 56% of the state’s Dalit population and traditionally assumed to be loyal to their leader Mayawati.

In 2014, despite a BJP sweep on Lok Sabha seats in eastern UP, Mulayam Singh Yadav won from Azamgarh with a margin of 63,000 votes. The seat has a sizeable Muslim and Yadav population, which is the core vote bank of the Samajwadi Party.

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