LUCKNOW: On a day when Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav took a poll plunge as he filed his nomination papers from Karhal in Mainpuri, BJP stalked him with a plan to pin him to his family borough by fielding a Scheduled Caste (SC) candidate S P Singh, who is a Modi cabinet minister.
UP deputy chief minister Keshav Maurya joined Baghel at a campaign after nomination even as the move surprised many in UP and BJP.
Baghel, who is an MP from Agra (SC), a constituency known for high concentration of Jatav SCs — was born in Etawah, the home turf of Akhilesh’s family.
Baghel’s candidature is part of a clear strategy to use his past credentials when he worked as security officer to SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav (MSY) during his tenure as chief minister.
He had taken voluntary retirement from the police force in 1993 before serving as a cop in intelligence department in Meerut and working with Yadav family.
He also served as Samajwadi Party’s state president for youth wing before becoming an MP from the same party.
Karhal’s proximity to Saifai may give an edge to Akhilesh due to their traditional loyal votebank but that BJP has brought Baghel into the fight is clear that it would not allow Yadav scion to have a cakewalk.
What won Baghel a berth in Yogi cabinet as Livestock, Minor Irrigation and Fisheries minister and later Modi cabinet as MoS law is also his academic armoury that includes doctorate degree.
Mainpuri, for last three decades, has sent a Samajwadi Party MP, from the Yadav family including MSY, his nephew Dharmendra Yadav or his grand-nephew Tej Pratap Yadav.
In fact, MSY is a sitting MP from Mainpuri.
“So it’s not going to be easy for the BJP either to make any dent against the Yadav family in their home ground,” said a senior SP leader.
But what may give BJP some comfort is that the party’s 2019 candidate and Mainpuri runner-up Prem Singh Shakya had polled 44 per cent vote share, with a 11.3 % jump that also meant a 10.7 % loss for MSY who had received 5.24 lakh votes.
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