SP upbeat in Azamgarh after Jamali joins party

| | Lucknow
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SP upbeat in Azamgarh after Jamali joins party

Monday, 04 March 2024 | PNS | Lucknow

The Samajwadi Party is upbeat about its electoral prospects in Azamgarh after firming up its vote bank following the entry of Bahujan Samaj Party leader and former MLA Shah Alam alias Guddu Jamali in the party.

SP president Akhilesh Yadav is likely to contest the Lok Sabha election from this Lok Sabha constituency.

The SP has stepped up its ground work in Azamgarh with the aim to wrest the Lok Sabha seat which it lost to the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2022 bypoll.

The Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat, which was held by SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav in 2014 and party president Akhilesh Yadav in 2019, was lost by the party when BJP candidate Dinesh Lal Yadav Nirahua won the 2022 bypoll, defeating SP’s Dharmendra Yadav. The bypoll was caused by the resignation of Akhilesh Yadav as he was elected to UP assembly from Karhal constituency in Mainpuri district in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.

As SP looks to win back this Lok Sabha seat, the recent joining of former BSP leader Shah Alam alias Guddu Jamali has made the local SP cadre in Azamgarh upbeat. Jamali posed a challenge to SP in the earlier polls and mustered local support in his favour.

A two-time BSP MLA (2012, 2017) from Mubarakpur seat in Azamgarh, the former BSP leader is considered to have a good following in the district. He had contested the 2014 and 2022 bypoll elections from Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat against SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav and Dharmendra Yadav, respectively, on a SP ticket. In the 2022 bypoll, Jamali had secured 2,66,210 votes in the constituency as BSP candidate, apparently on the backing of the Muslim voters.

BJP’s Dinesh Lal Yadav Nirahua won that poll by securing 3.12 lakh votes, while SP’s Dharmendra Yadav got 3.04 lakh votes. In the 2014 poll also, Jamali secured over 2.66 lakh votes in Azamgarh and was at third place, while Mulayam Singh Yadav won the Lok Sabha seat securing 3.40 lakh votes.

“This seat will be in our party’s kitty this time. We have done a lot of ground work here. With Guddu Jamali joining our side, we will defeat the rivals. He has ground presence and a good following,” a SP leader said.

Jamali, who joined the SP on February 28, is a businessman and is active in the district.

Jamali said, “I have joined the SP and will ensure that whosoever contests from the (Azamgarh Lok Sabha) seat, wins. I am a man of principles, I will remain here for my remaining life and make sure to do my best for the party.”

The BJP has named Bhojpuri star Dinesh Yadav Nirahua again from the Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat. The SP has not yet declared its candidate from this seat.

Since 1996, only Muslims and Yadavs have been winning the Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat. Ramakant Yadav won the seat as a SP candidate in 1996 and 1999. He won it again as a BSP candidate in 2004 and on a BJP ticket in 2009. The seat was held by Akbar Ahmed Dumpy as a BSP candidate in 1998 and 2008 by-election.

In the 2014 general elections, despite the Modi wave, Mulayam Singh Yadav succeeded in winning the seat and defeated Ramakant by 63,000 votes, securing 35.43 per cent of the votes. BJP’s Ramakant got 28.85 per cent of the votes, while Jamali, then fielded by BSP, got 27.75 per cent.

SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav won the seat in 2019 defeating BJP’s Nirahua, who won the 2022 bypoll. The SP and the BSP were in alliance in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The Azamgarh Lok Sabha constituency has five assembly segments – Gopalpur, Sagri, Mubarakpur, Azamgarh and Mehnagar – all held by the SP at present.

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