Former Samajwadi Party Rajya Sabha member Naresh Agarwal joined the BJP
Sultan of sommersaults and former Samajwadi Party Rajya Sabha member Naresh Agarwal, who joined the BJP on Monday, is likely to take on his former boss Akhilesh Yadav from Kannauj in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The seat is currently held by SP chief Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav. Recently, Akhilesh had announced that Dimple would not contest the next Lok Sabha poll and he would be the candidate from Kannauj.
Agarwal shared with his confidants in his native place Hardoi that he would be contesting Lok Sabha elections next year as BJP candidate from neighbouring Kannauj. Hardoi Lok Sabha seat is reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates rendering Agrawal ineligible to contest from there.
Kannauj is a Samajwadi Party pocketborough. Veteran socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia represented the seat in Lok Sabha from 1967 to 1971. Congress leader Sheila Dikshit was an MP from Kannauj during 1984-89 and the Samajwadi Party won it for the first time in 1998.
In 1999, Mulayam Singh Yadav won the Kannauj Lok Sabha seat and passed on the baton to son and SP president Akhilesh Yadav, who represented Kannauj in 1999, 2004 and 2009. After he became the CM in 2012, his wife Dimple won the byelection in June 2012 unopposed. She also won in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, albeit by a margin of 20,000.
During 2017 Assembly election, when Mulayam Singh was sulking and Akhilesh stitched alliance with the Congress, the BJP won two of three Assembly segments in Kannauj Lok Sabha constituency.
Sources in Hardoi also said that Agrawal was likely to bring more Samajwadi Party leaders to the BJP fold in the run-up to the 2019 elections. They claimed that it was considered a BJP strategy ‘to give Agrawal some freedom in weakening the SP from within’ in view of the recent bonhomie between Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party. Having tasted defeat in Bihar against the grand alliance of RJD-JD (U) – Congress, the BJP is wary of a possibility of BSP chief Mayawati and SP president Akhilesh joining hands ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Mayawati had problems with Mulayam Singh following the infamous State Guest House incident in Lucknow in June 1995 when she was assaulted by SP workers. On the other hand, Akhilesh, after taking over the reins of the SP, has been cosying up to Mayawati for a possible Bihar-like grand alliance. With Mulayam Singh out of the Samajwadi Party’s scheme of things, Mayawati is said to be ready to have an electoral tie-up with the SP to checkmate the BJP in UP.
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