Will Akhilesh tide past hurdles in Mainpuri ?
Mainpuri: Within a month of the death of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, unrest in the party and unrest in the family is increasing. Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav is facing a major challenge in the form of by-polls to the Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat vacated by the death of his father Mulayat Singh Yadav. Significantly, the Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat is extremely important for the Samajwadi Party as well as the family as it has been one of the strongest strongholds of the Samajwadi Party since 1989.
It is a big challenge for Akhilesh Yadav to decide the candidate in the by-election to be held on December 5 on Mainpuri seat. Because his uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav had announced few months back that if Mulayam Singh does not contest, he will contest from Mainpuri seat in 2024.
A senior leader said Shivpal Yadav cannot accept an outsider in this seat and it is important for Akhilesh to keep the family and the party united at this time – especially after the recent Lakhimpur Kheri defeat.
Akhilesh is also under pressure to ensure the party’s victory in Mainpuri as he has faced continuous defeats since taking over the reins of the Samajwadi Party.
Under Akhilesh’s leadership, the party lost the 2017 assembly elections, the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and then the 2022 assembly elections.
After the 2022 assembly elections, the SP has faced humiliating defeats in Azamgarh and Rampur and now Lakhimpur by-elections.
Another defeat in Mainpuri and Rampur could create problems for Akhilesh in the party and the family.
According to family sources, it is believed that Tej Pratap Yadav could be the candidate of the party, which won the Mainpuri seat in the 2014 by-elections.
Tej Pratap Yadav is Mulayam’s nephew and has been close to him. Mulayam guided Tej Pratap in politics and Tej Pratap always consulted him on important matters.
Tej Pratap is the son-in-law of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav and has been preparing since Mulayam Singh won the election from Mainpuri seat in 2019.
Tej Pratap, the grandson of Mulayam Singh’s eldest brother, was Mulayam’s representative for his constituency after being unwell for two years.
A senior party leader said, “Tej Pratap is very close to the people of Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency and is probably the SP’s choice.
Apart from this, Tej Pratap is equally close to Shivpal and family sources said that if Tej Pratap is made the party’s candidate, Shivpal will not challenge him in the by-election.
Family sources said that in the absence of Mulayam Singh, his younger brother Abhay Ram, who is trying to keep the family together, has suggested that Tej Pratap should contest from Mainpuri. This will not lead to any further confrontation between Akhilesh and Shivpal.