Lucknow: A Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Uttar Pradesh from the Samajwadi Party (SP) has ‘invited’ Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to contest the upcoming State election from his constituency, Baberu, a block in the Banda district of Bundelkhand. Not only have the people complained negligence of the region by successive Lucknow-based governments, even the Yadav government does not have any minister from the region. It will be interesting to see whether Akhilesh Yadav makes a bid to address this grievance of Bundelkhandis by contesting the election from a seat in the region.
Earlier, on 15 December, when the chief minister was on a tour of Hamirpur, several of his MLAs had requested him to contest the election from a seat in Bundelkhand.
Baberu is a constituency dominated by Dalits and Yadavs, which has seen communists win contests riding the consolidated support of the said caste groups: MLAs Durjan Bhai (twice) and late Dev Kumar Yadav (thrice), and Member of Parliament (MP) Jageshwar Yadav of the Communist Party of India (CPI) (once).
The rise of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) led to a cleavage in the Yadav-Dalit bond, making Gayacharan Dinkar of the party win in the region from Naraini. Dinkar is now the Leader of Opposition in Uttar Pradesh Assembly. But Baberu is still with the SP; Vishwambhar Singh Yadav has been the MLA from here since 2007 — taking advantage of a feud in the BSP engineered by Babu Singh Kushwaha.
Now this Vishwambhar Singh Yadav is inviting the chief minister to fight from his ‘assured’ seat. Not in a mood to give the SP a walkover, the BSP has fielded Dev Kumar Yadav’s daughter-in-law Kiran Yadav from Baberu. She enjoys the support of local panchayat chairman Suryapal Singh Yadav.
Vishwambhar Yadav and Suryapal Singh Yadav are archrivals in the region owing to the SP leadership’s act of throwing its weight behind the former and ignoring the latter, who would not like to miss this opportunity of exacting revenge from the party he had thought would endorse him as he is believed to enjoy more clout in the region than the SP MLA. Dinkar is with Suryapal Singh Yadav in this fight for dominance.
While this makes Baberu of Bundelkhand an uncertain constituency for Akhilesh Yadav, he told a television channel recently that he was keen on fighting the election from the region, addressing the people’s grievance of negligence. He said it would be great if Bundelkhand were to elect a chief ministerial candidate.
Despite the open feud in the chief minister’s family, where his father and SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav is often seen pitted against him, Akhilesh Yadav enjoys a goodwill among the masses, especially the youth, and his reputation in not tainted by any charge of corruption.