In a move that not only looks cheap but also suggests that the Samajwadi Party is facing a dearth of winnable candidates in this Uttar Pradesh election, the main challenger to power in the state, Akhilesh Yadav, is trying to woo the sitting BJP MLA Radha Mohan Aggarwal, offering him his party ticket for the seat — seeing the BJP deciding to field Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from his home turf Gorakhpur (Urban) assembly seat.
Aggarwal has been the MLA from Gorakhpur Urban seat since 2002.
Asked about BJP’s Gorakhpur (Urban) MLA Aggarwal, the Samajwadi Party chief told reporters, “If you (reporters) can establish contact with him and speak to him, the ticket will be announced and he will get the ticket.” Yadav was speaking to reporters at his party headquarters on the occasion of ‘Ann Sankalp Divas’.
“I remember the oath-taking ceremony of the chief minister (Yogi Adityanath). I had seen Radha Mohan Aggarwal on the occasion. He was not able to find a seat and had to keep standing. He has been insulted the most in the BJP government,” Yadav said.
On a question about BJP’s disgruntled MLAs, Yadav had earlier asserted, “We cannot give seats to everyone. The BJP can distribute its tickets. We cannot take anyone (into the SP) now.”
However, as soon as Aggarwal’s name was mentioned, he said he would nominate him. Dismissing speculation about his younger brother’s wife Aparna Yadav joining the BJP, Akhilesh Yadav said, “The BJP is more concerned about my family than me. Are you asking the question after being inspired by the BJP?”
Aparna Yadav had contested the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections on an SP ticket from Lucknow Cantonment but lost to BJP’s Rita Bahuguna Joshi.
On a question on Azad Samaj Party chief Chandrashekhar Ravan, the SP chief said, “I had said the SP had given respect to the people of the alliance and had also sacrificed to cement the alliance. At this point in time, whatever sacrifices have to be made should be made.”
“The SP is making sacrifices. As far as Chandrashekhar (Ravan) is concerned, I had given him seats. If he wants to help as a brother, he can do so,” Yadav added.
“Chandrashekhar had initially accepted two seats, but he said later that his organisation could not agree on it. In this scenario why should the SP be blamed?” he asked.
“That is why I am saying people are hatching conspiracies. Do not level allegations if someone has said anything. Several conspiracies are being hatched for the Uttar Pradesh elections and they will be hatched in future as well,” Yadav said.
On 15 January, the Azad Samaj Party had said, “We thought this is a new Samajwadi Party and there will be some change in it. We can speak about social justice. We wanted unity of the Bahujan and we were banking on him (Akhilesh Yadav) but yesterday we felt that our hopes have been shattered. I feel that Akhilesh ji does not need us. All the best to him. We will fight our own polls.”
Uttar Pradesh goes to assembly election in seven phases between 10 February and 7 March.