VARANASI –The Samajwadi Party on Monday declared dismissed BSF constable Tej Bahadur Yadav as its candidate against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi.
The party replaced its candidate, Shalini Yadav, who recently joined it, to make way for Tej Bahadur, who was dismissed from service for indiscipline in 2017 after he posted a video complaining about the quality of food served to the troops in the region along the LoC (Line of Control) in Jammu and Kashmir.
He recently announced he would take on Mr. Modi in Varanasi.
Shalini Yadav is the daughter-in-law of former Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson Shyam Lal Yadav. In 2017, she ran for the Varanasi municipal corporation mayoral election from the Congress but lost.
Shalini is considered a lightweight candidate, and fielded in the anticipation that the Congress might field its general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra from the seat. However, once the Congress fielded Rai, the SP had a rethink to support Tej Bahadur, who had already filed his nomination as an Independent.
Several smaller parties, including the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and some Left parties, welcomed the move. They expressed the hope that the Congress would now withdraw its candidate to support Tej Bahadur.