Samajwadi Party Seeks to Reclaim Azamgarh in Mainly Two-way Battle

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SP’s Dharmendra Yadav challenges BJP’s Nirahua in a critical battle; BSP’s Guddu Jamali switches sides, altering electoral dynamics.

Team Clarion

AZAMGARH – The Samajwadi Party (SP) is gearing up for a crucial electoral battle in Azamgarh, a constituency that holds significant political importance. After facing a setback in the 2022 byelection, the Akhilesh Yadav-led party is determined to reclaim its stronghold, armed with strategic alliances and a focused campaign.

In the 2022 by-poll, Dharmendra Yadav of the Samajwadi Party was defeated by a narrow margin. The presence of Bahujan Samaj Party’s Shah Alam, alias Guddu Jamali, reportedly split the Muslim vote, benefiting the BJP’s candidate, Bhojpuri film actor Dinesh Lal Yadav ‘Nirahua’.

However, the constituency’s political landscape has considerably shifted since then. Guddu Jamali has crossed over to the SP side, securing membership in the state legislative council and aligning himself with SP’s electoral aspirations for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

SP has once again fielded Dharmendra Yadav for the Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat, banking on his previous performance where he garnered significant support despite the defeat. The BJP has persisted with Nirahua as its candidate, while the BSP has nominated Mashahood Ahmad. The presence of the BSP nominee on the ground appears minimal, making the contest primarily between Dharmendra and Nirahua.

Azamgarh, historically a stronghold of the SP, boasts a significant population of Yadavs, Muslims, and Dalits, forming the core vote bank of the party. With Yadavs constituting 21% and Dalits 20% of the population, along with a considerable Muslim presence, SP aims to consolidate its support base to secure victory.

Voters in Azamgarh express their sentiments, reflecting the complex electoral dynamics. Vikas Yadav, a local, expresses confidence in Dharmendra’s victory, citing support of Yadavs and Muslims. However, the BJP remains optimistic, countering claims of a significant impact from Jamali’s defection.

The BJP acknowledges the importance of securing Jatav votes, in addition to its existing support base, for Nirahua’s victory. Yet, Dalit voters in Azamgarh assert their allegiance to the BSP, citing community solidarity.

The Muslim community is resolute in voting en masse to prevent BJP’s victory, emphasising unity behind the SP-Congress alliance. SP’s national spokesperson highlights the party’s rigorous campaign efforts, acknowledging the significance of Azamgarh’s support in the earlier state assembly polls.

The upper caste vote remains firmly behind the BJP, underscoring religious identity in electoral choices. Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath have campaigned extensively, invoking past terror attacks and emphasising the BJP’s commitment to security.

In his campaign, Nirahua criticises SP over nepotism, labelling the party’s alliance as ‘Parivarvadi Dakait Alliance’. Dharmendra, in response, urges focus on pressing issues such as inflation, unemployment, and farmers’ welfare, dismissing allegations of divisive politics.

As the electoral battle intensifies, all eyes are on Azamgarh, where political manoeuvring and strategic alliances will shape the outcome, determining the future course of Uttar Pradesh politics.

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