Akhilesh Yadav to contest UP elections from party stronghold Karhal
The Samajwadi Party (SP) on Saturday confirmed that party chief Akhilesh Yadav will contest the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh from Karhal constituency in Mainpuri district. The announcement was made by Yadav's uncle and SP national general secretary Ramgopal Yadav at a press conference, where the former was also present. Polling in the northern state will take place between February and March.
- This marks the first time Yadav would fight a state assembly election, though he has served as the state's chief minister in the past.
- He is currently a parliamentarian in the Lok Sabha from Azamgarh.
- The announcement about Yadav's candidature comes just days after CM Yogi Adityanath's assembly election debut was confirmed by his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"I am making a formal official announcement now. Our national president Akhilesh Yadav will contest the Karhal assembly constituency in Mainpuri, and he will win with a massive mandate," Ramgopal Yadav said at Saturday's press conference in Lucknow.
Voting in the Karhal constituency will be held on February 20, which marks the third phase of the seven-phase UP elections. The seat has been a stronghold for the Samajwadi Party since 1993. Since then, it was only in the 2002 elections that the seat was clinched by the BJP. Sobaran Singh Yadav has been winning the seat on an SP ticket since 2007.
Last week, the BJP had declared that Adityanath, current CM and five-time Lok Sabha member, would contest the state polls from Gorakhpur (Urban) seat. Days later, Dalit leader and Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad said he would challenge the CM from that seat. Meanwhile, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Friday said in an interview she might make her electoral debut in UP polls.
Voting in Uttar Pradesh will take place for the 403 Assembly seats between February 10 and March 7. Election results will be declared on March 10. The BJP government in the state is looking to retain power while the SP is eyeing a comeback. In 2017, the BJP and allies had swept the polls, winning 325 of the 403 state Assembly seats.