Race hots up in SP for post of leader of opposition

| | Lucknow
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Race hots up in SP for post of leader of opposition

Monday, 17 June 2024 | PNS | Lucknow

The race for the post of leader of opposition in Uttar Pradesh assembly has intensified in the Samajwadi Party. The post has fallen vacant following the election of incumbent leader of opposition Akhilesh Yadav to the Lok Sabha.  Akhilesh Yadav has since resigned from the membership of the UP assembly.

Though a couple of party leaders have emerged as frontrunners to take over from Akhilesh Yadav the charge of leader of opposition in the assembly, sources in the SP indicated the successor could be a dark horse. Among the frontrunners for the post are senior leaders Shivpal Singh Yadav, who is the uncle of Akhilesh Yadav, former assembly speaker Mata Prasad Pandey, Indrajit Saroj and Ram Achal Rajbhar.  Former minister of state Ravidas Mehrotra is also in contention, they say.

In the 2022 assembly elections, the SP won 111 seats in the 403-member UP assembly and Akhilesh Yadav became the leader of opposition.

SP chief spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary said that Akhilesh Yadav would soon take a decision in this regard. Asked about the leaders being considered for the position, he said many names were in contention to take over as leader of the opposition.

Shivpal Yadav and Pandey sit in the front row of the House. Into his sixth term as an MLA, Shivpal Yadav, who represents Jaswantnagar assembly constituency in Etawah district, served as the leader of opposition during the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party government from 2007 to 2012.

Pandey is the MLA from the Etwa assembly constituency in Siddharthnagar district while Saroj represents the Majhanpur constituency in Kaushambi district and Ram Achal Rajbhar is the MLA from Akbarpur in Ambedkar Nagar district while Mehrotra is a legislator from Lucknow.

Besides the leader of opposition, intense lobbying has begun in the SP for the Karhal assembly seat vacated by Akhilesh Yadav. The SP chief had won the seat in 2022 by defeating Bharatiya Janata Party candidate and former SP leader SP Singh Baghel with a huge margin of about 67,000 votes.

Another high-stakes seat is Milkipur in Ayodhya district. The incumbent SP MLA Awadhesh Prasad has been elected as MP from Faizabad. In 2022, Prasad had defeated the BJP’s Baba Gorakhnath by about 13,000 votes. Prasad belongs to the Pasi (Dalit) community.

The other assembly seat for bypoll is Katheri in Ambedkar Nagar district. The incumbent SP MLA Lalji Verma has been elected to Lok Sabha from Ambedkar Nagar parliamentary constituency.

 

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