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SP continues to change candidates ahead of Lok Sabha elections: Here's what led Akhilesh Yadav to do so

With the general elections looming, the Samajwadi Party seems to be ramping up its efforts. There are speculations that the party has chosen to change its candidates in multiple constituencies in response to dissatisfaction among party members concerning certain nominations.

Anurag Roushan Written By: Anurag Roushan @Candid_Tilaiyan New Delhi Updated on: April 02, 2024 19:18 IST
SP continues to change candidates ahead of Lok Sabha elections, Akhilesh Yadav, Lok Sabha Elections
Image Source : INDIA TV Currently, the Samajwadi Party is in an alliance with only Congress in Uttar Pradesh.

Ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Samajwadi Party (SP) has changed or renominated its candidates at several constituencies in Uttar Pradesh. The Akhilesh Yadav-led party has so far released five lists of candidates for the upcoming general elections. The party is also considered one of the formidable forces for the opposition alliance -- I.N.D.I.A -- against Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

SP candidates changed at these seats: 

  • Badaun Lok Sabha seat: The Samajwadi Party replaced Dharmendra Yadav with Shivpal Yadav at this constituency. 
  • Bijnor Lok Sabha seat: The SP had first given the ticket to Yashvir Singh, however, later he was replaced by Deepak Saini. 
  • Gautam Budh Nagar Lok Sabha Seat: The party first named Dr Mahendra Nagar as its candidate but four days later it opted for Rahul Awana. However, the SP again changed its choice and finally decided to go with Dr Mahendra Nagar only. 
  • Meerut Lok Sabha Seat: The Party first fielded Bhanu Pratap Singh and later replaced him with Atul Pradhan to take on against BJP candidate and actor Arun Govil of TV serial 'Ramayan'.

Big confusion at Rampur and Moradabad seats

Meanwhile, confusion also prevailed in Rampur and Moradabad parliamentary constituencies over the nomination of candidates. Two candidates each from Rampur and Moradabad seats filed nomination as the SP candidates. This led to a situation of confusion throughout the day over the authorised candidates of the SP on both seats. In Rampur, Asim Raja, who had previously contested the Lok Sabha byelection, filed his nomination calling himself an SP candidate. At the same time, Muhibullah Nadvi also filed his nomination making the same claim.

On the other side, confusion arose in Moradabad after party leader Ruchi Veera filed a nomination as the SP candidate. Earlier, the sitting SP MP from Moradabad ST Hasan had also filed the nomination as the party candidate. However, later the party cleared the air, declaring Nadvi as its candidate from Rampur, while Veera from Moradabad. 

Potential reasons for changing candidates

As the general elections draw near, the Samajwadi Party appears to be intensifying its efforts. It is being speculated that the party has opted to shuffle its candidates in several constituencies due to discontent among party members regarding certain nominations. It's believed that SP's chief, Akhilesh Yadav, made these changes in response to the concerns of party workers, who feared potential losses in the upcoming elections.

Akhilesh Yadav banks on OBC, Dalit votes

As the party president, Yadav is strategically aiming to unite the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and Dalits to counter the dominant Hindutva narrative of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). To achieve this, the SP is trying to emphasize "social justice" as a means to consolidate support among OBCs. Additionally, the party is actively seeking to broaden its appeal within the Dalit community.

While reflecting on past electoral strategies, it's evident that the SP has made various attempts to halt the BJP's momentum in Uttar Pradesh, albeit with limited success. Previous alliances with the Congress in the 2017 assembly elections and with its arch-rival BSP in the 2019 general elections failed to yield the desired results. Consequently, the SP seems determined to mitigate risks this time around, displaying a more cautious approach in the selection of candidates. 

Vote polarisation factor

The Samajwadi Party is also grappling with concerns over the polarisation of votes, particularly in light of recent developments. The BJP's decision to field TV's 'Ram' Arun Govil as its candidate from the Meerut seat has raised eyebrows, given that Meerut boasts a significant Muslim voter population of around 23 per cent. Notably, in the 2019 elections, the SP-BSP alliance had nominated Haji Mohammad Yakub to contest against BJP's Rajendra Aggarwal in this constituency. Aggarwal secured victory by a narrow margin of less than five thousand votes.

With the backdrop of the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya and the installation of Ram Lalla, the BJP's strategic move to nominate a 'Ram' figure from the popular TV serial Ramayana has left the opposition in a quandary. Sensing the BJP's focus on leveraging the Ram temple narrative for electoral gains, SP seems to be adjusting its strategy accordingly. 

Lok Sabha elections 2024

The seven-phase Lok Sabha polls, the world’s biggest election exercise, will kick off on April 19 with the counting of votes set to take place on June 4 as Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes a bid for a third consecutive term in office. Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said over 97 crore voters – 49.7 crore males and 47.1 crore females – were eligible to cast their vote in the polling process spread over 44 days and across 10.5 lakh polling booths. The elections will begin on April 19 followed by subsequent phases on April 26, May 7, May 13, May 20, May 25 and June 1.  





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