SP workers demand Prateek Yadav contest polls from Azamgarh
Yadav, younger son of Mulayam Singh, is not yet nominated as a SP candidate for 2014 UP Parliamentary elections
Virendra Nath Bhatt
A group of Samajwadi Party workers from Azamgarh district on Saturday 24 November staged dharna in front of the state office of the party in Lucknow demanding party ticket for Prateek Yadav, to contest from Azamgarh Parliamentary constituency in eastern Uttar Pradesh.
Prateek is the younger son of the Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and step-brother of UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. Releasing its first list of candidates for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the SP on 16 November announced to field Balram Yadav from the Azamgarh seat, who is a senior SP leader and panchayati raj minister in the present SP government in UP.
After the first list was announced, speculations in Lucknow were rife about were released Prateek Yadav being unhappy about not figuring in it. SP sources said he was particularly perturbed that his cousin Akshay Yadav, son of SP general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav, has been nominated by the party to contest elections from Firozabad Lok Sabha seat.
Party sources also said that another member of the first family of SP, Ankur Yadav, son of senior SP leader and PWD minister Shivpal Yadav, is also a major contender for the party ticket from the Farrukhabad Lok Sabha seat. Shivpal Yadav, the younger brother of Mulayam Singh Yadav, was reportedly unhappy over the elevation of his nephew Akhilesh Yadav for the top job in UP.
If Prateek Yadav and Ankur Yadav are given the party ticket for the 2014 Parliament elections, then it would set sort of a record where six members from one family will be in the fray. The names of the four candidates from the first family of the SP have already been announced - Mulayam Singh Yadav (Mainpuri), Dimple Yadav, wife of Akhilesh Yadav (Kanauj), Dharmendra Yadav, nephew of Mulayam Singh (Badaun) and Akshay Yadav, another nephew of SP chief (Firozabad). Besides the six potential Lok Sabha MPs in 2014, Ram Gopal Yadav is the SP leader in Rajya Sabha. Azamgarh is the bastion of Yadav politics in UP. In the present SP government, there are two Yadav Cabinet ministers from Azamngarh - Durga Yadav and Balram Yadav.
Close to 50 party workers from Azamgarh which included couple of village Pradhans from the district sat on dharna in front of the SP state office for over four hours. They raised slogans “Azamgarh ki yahi pukaar, Prateek bhaiyya abkee baar.’’ Ram Singaar Yadav, a village Pradhan said, “The old leaders of the party from the district have failed in their basic duty of ensuring the development of the district, building of infrastructure such as roads and bridges, electricity distribution is in shambles and the handloom and powerloom industry is on the verge of closure in the district and the common people see a ray of hope only in Prateek Yadav.” Durga Yadav, another SP leader from Azamgarh said, "If Prateek Yadav is elected to Parliament from Azamgarh , then besides ensuring uninterrupted power supply, he will bring in a new era of development in the district."
The SP general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav, who is a cousin brother of SP supremo, ruled out the possibility of change of candidate from Azamgarh district. “The party has already announced its candidate and there is no question of change under any circumstances,’’ said Yadav. So far the SP has released a list of 64 candidates for the 2014 Lok sabha elections, against the total 80 Parliament seats in UP. Ramakant Yadav — a former SP leader and once a confidant of Mulayam Singh Yadav — was elected as BJP MP from the Azamgarh seat in 2009 Parliament elections.
Meanwhile the SP spokesman Rajendra Chowdhary refused to comment on the dharna staged at the party office on Saturday.
Virendra Nath Bhatt is a Special Correspondent with Tehelka.