Lucknow: The Samajwadi Party has decided to field old loyalist Pandhari Yadav from the Phulpur constituency in Uttar Pradesh, which was won by the party in the by-elections held in March last year.
Considered to be a Samajwadi Party stronghold, Phulpur has been won by the party five times. On two occasions, it was won by an SP and BSP candidate. The incumbent Samajwadi Party MP from Phulpur, Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel, is likely to be fielded from the Allahabad parliamentary seat now.
The seat was won by BJP leader Keshav Prasad Maurya by a huge margin. But the BJP got majority in the 2017 state assembly elections and Maurya became the deputy chief minister of the state. He vacated the seat in 2018 and SP candidate Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel won the constituency during by-polls with support from the BSP.
Pandhari, Samajwadi Party’s Lok Sabha candidate for Phulpur, is an old guard and the party’s current state secretary. He has also been the party’s former district president and was among senior leaders who had supported the election of Akhilesh Yadav as the chief of parliamentary board in 2012.
He is pitted against BJP leader Keshri Patel and Pankaj Niranjan of the Congress in the general elections.
The BSP support will prove to be an added advantage for Pandhari, who is said to enjoy a strong hold on the backward and Muslim voters in the Phulpur constituency. The BSP and SP are contesting the Lok Sabha polls in alliance with the Rashtriya Lok Dal. The SP is contesting on 37 seats and the BSP is contesting on 38 seats. Three seats have been left for the RLD and two seats of Amethi and Raebareli have been left for the Congress.