‘Mainpuri is a stronghold of the Samajwadi Party and BJP has a slim chance of winning the seat there’.


NEW DELHI: Less than a month is left for the Mainpuri by-election and the BJP is still on the lookout for the right candidate. Some top BJP leaders admitted that Mainpuri is a stronghold of the Samajwadi Party and the party (BJP) has a slim chance of winning the seat there.
A senior leader of BJP told The Sunday Guardian, “Currently, the name of the candidate is not even under discussion; we are still looking for the right candidate. The Samajwadi Party has a stronghold in the Mainpuri area; so the position of the BJP is quite evident. The party will inform the name of the candidate before the election.” There is speculation that the BJP may bring Aparna Yadav, the younger daughter-in-law of Mulayam Singh Yadav, into the picture. To this, political analyst Gyanendra Shukla told this paper, “BJP may play the caste equation here. So, in my opinion, Aparna Yadav may not contest the election. If the voting is based on caste politics, then the BJP has a higher edge. However, if Aparna Yadav contests the election, there is a strong chance that the Samajwadi Party (SP) sympatisers will vote for SP.”
Aparna Yadav may end up being a riskier pick for the Mainpuri seat. After losing Lucknow Cantt Assembly in 2017 to BJP Rita Bahuguna, she joined the BJP.
Meanwhile, the SP has chosen the former MP and the wife of the party chief, Dimple Yadav, to contest from the Mainpuri seat after the death of the party supremo, Mulayam Singh Yadav. This is the second time the party has given tickets to their family members. Looking into the history of the Mainpuri seat, the late Mulayam Singh Yadav won the seat five times—2019, 2014, 2009, 2004, and 1996. In 2004, he left the seat after becoming the CM and as a result, Dharmendra Yadav (Akhilesh Yadav’s cousin) was given the seat. In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, he contested from two seats—Mainpuri and Azamgarh. However, he left Mainpuri, and later on, Tej Pratap Yadav, won.
Shantanu Gupta, a political analyst, told this paper, “The reason behind choosing Dimple Yadav is because Akhilesh Yadav now wants to control the party. However, Tej Pratap Yadav is far more experienced than Dimple Yadav and it would be interesting to see who the BJP elects as their candidate. If Aparna Yadav stands from the BJP, then this election will be interesting.” However, if the BJP brings Aparna Yadav into the picture, it will be important to consider who the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (PSP) will support.
“It doesn’t seem that Shivpal Singh, the founder of Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party, shares a good relationship with the party chief, Akhilesh Yadav. So, it is yet to see whether Akhilesh Yadav would take the support of PSP,” Shukla added. Sources close to the matter told this correspondent that it is yet to decide whether PSP will contest the election independently or in an alliance, but the decision will be announced soon. The nomination process for these seats officially opened on 10 November, voting will take place on 5 December and results will be counted on 8 December.