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SP’s latest list sets stage for battle between Mulayam's 'chhoti bahu' Aparna Yadav and Rita Bahuguna Joshi from Lucknow Cantt

Samajwadi Party’s third list sets stage for battle between Mulayam's 'chhoti bahu' Aparna Yadav and Rita Bahuguna Joshi from Lucknow Cantt.
India TV Politics Desk Lucknow January 23, 2017 21:40 IST
India TV Politics Desk

Fulfilling the demand of his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, Samajwadi Party national president and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has approved the candidature of Aparna Yadav, the wife of his half brother Pratik Yadav, from the Lucknow Cantt constituency, where she will square off against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Rita Bahuguna Joshi who won the last election from the seat on a Congress ticket.  

The fight for Yadav, who has been working in the region for at least a year, will not be easy as the seat has never been won by the Samajwadi Party. 

Aparna, a political greenhorn, has been nurturing the constituency under the banner of an NGO. 

While the BJP has fielded 67-year-old Rita, BSP has fielded Yogesh Dixit making the fight triangular in the constituency which will go to polls in the third phase on February 19. 

Mulayam Singh, who was unseated by his son as the party president, had sought the seat for her younger daughter-in-law in the list of 40 given to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister after the Election Commission had granted him the control of the party on January 16.
Shivpal Yadav, who had been at the loggerheads with Akhilesh, has also been given ticket from Jaswantnagar in Etawah, as per the wishes of the party founder. 

Aparna Yadav, who is a post-graduate in Politics and International Relations from the Manchester University and also runs an NGO, was declared a SP candidate by the then party chief Mulayam almost a year ago. However, the power tussle between Mulayam and Akhilesh had put a question mark on her candidacy. 

Her candidature holds significance as in the family tussle between father and son, Aparna had sided with Mulayam. Married to Mulayam’s son from second marriage, Aparna is said to be one with political ambitions. 

In the family feud of Yadavs, those on Akhilesh Yadav’s side had also blamed Mulayam’s second wife Sadhna Gupta. Some even said that she was rooting to cease the power from Akhilesh for Aparna, as Pratik is said be an “apolitical.”  

During the feud, Akhilesh’s close aides hinted that she aspires to become the young face of the Samajwadi Party and eventually replace Akhilesh as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.

26-year-old Aparna, the latest entrant from the Yadav clan, figured in Samajwadi Party's latest list of 37 candidates for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls. 

Aparna, whose husband is a businessman with big real estate interests, feels that since she is the joint candidate of SP-Congress coalition, it will give her added strength. 

"People of the constituency know what work has been done there by their representative till now...they have seen how I have been working ever since I was given the responsibility of the seat by my party," Aparna said. 

She said her contribution has also been lauded even by her adversaries. 

"Ritaji herself wrote a letter of appreciation to me for raising voice in Nirbhaya case. Her tone changed when my party directed me to contest from here. I am sure to win as people have seen me working without being an MLA," Aparna said. 

In the last polls, Rita, contesting on Congress ticket, had defeated BJP's Suresh Chandra Tewari by a margin of over 21,000 votes. She remained active in the constituency all along. 

Commenting on Aparna’s candidature, Rita said people understand the difference between personal contribution and what it meant to be just a member of a particular family. 

"In fact, I want her to contest, people should realise being just member of the ruling family does not mean you have an electoral presence and you can succeed," she said.

"I have struck a personal relationship with the constituency and with the people of the area over these years and they know as to how I have been with them all through," she said, hoping that her personal rapport with the voters would see her through. 

This time round, she has the additional advantage of BJP's organisational network which will help in pipping her opponent to the post. 

"Lucknow as a whole has been loyal to BJP all along, electing its nominee for last five terms. I think it should not be difficult for me to win," she stressed.

In its fourth list released by SP state president Naresh Uttam, candidates were also declared for Varanasi, Chandauli, Ghazipur, Jaunpur, Ballia, Kannauj, Lucknow, Fatehpur, Sant Kabir Nagar, Gorakhpur and Azamgarh. 

The party gave ticket to Rajesh Kushwaha from Ghazipur in place of sitting MLA and minister Vijay Mishra. 

Former minister Shadab Fatima, close to SP leader Shivpal Yadav who was sacked by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, was also denied ticket from Jahurabad seat (Ghazipur) and Mahendra Chauhan replaced her from the seat. 

The party also changed its candidate from Gopalpur seat (Azamgarh) and gave ticket to Nafis Ahmad in place of sitting MLA and state minister Wasim Ahmad. 

Capping days of feverish parleys, Congress and Samajwadi Party forged an alliance to contest the UP Assembly polls together, with the ruling party leaving 105 of the 403 seats for its alliance partner. 

Though SP has so far given tickets to 324 candidates, it will ask its nominees to withdraw from those constituencies it has offered to Congress as part of seat-sharing agreement. 

SP will contest 298 seats under the arrangement.