Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday refused to confirm reports that he has decided to contest the February-March Uttar Pradesh election. He was also evasive when asked to specify the constituency for his poll debut in UP.
Yadav is presently MP from Azamgarh.
"I will seek the permission of the people of Azamgarh if I decide to contest the election. I need to seek their permission because they elected me from there," the SP chief said.
He was replying to media questions on whether he would contest the election from a constituency in Azamgarh from where he is Lok Sabha member.
Akhilesh Yadav is under tremendous political pressure to contest the assembly election as the Bharatiya Janata Party has already announced that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will be the party candidate from Gorakhpur and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya will contest the election from Sirathu assembly constituency in Kaushambi district.
Sources in the SP reiterated today that Akhilesh Yadav would contest the election but said a seat was yet to be decided. In the past month, the former chief minister said on record that he would contest the poll if the party wanted him to. Akhilesh Yadav in his two-decade-long political life has never contested state assembly election.
The sources said the pressure was on the Samajwadi Party chief and former chief minister after the BJP's Yogi Adityanath, the incumbent chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, decided to contest the state polls for the first time. In November, Akhilesh Yadav had said that he would not contest the election. But his party rushed to clarify that such a decision would be taken only by the party.
"I will not be contesting the assembly election myself;" the SP MP had been quoted as saying. He later revised that stance. But on Wednesday morning, reports of his UP poll debut emerged alongside those of his sister-in-law Aparna Yadav's joining the BJP.
In 2012, when Akhilesh Yadav led the SP to a big victory in UP, he took over as the country's youngest chief minister at 38. He was a Lok Sabha MP from Kannauj at that time. Later, he took the route of the UP Legislative Council to become a member of the UP legislature. His wife Dimple Yadav was elected unopposed in the by-election to Kannauj Lok Sabha constituency in June 2017.