Congress decides to field no candidate against Akhilesh Yadav, Shivpal Yadav

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Congress has already stated that it will not field a candidate from the Jaswant Nagar seat, which is being contested by Akhilesh’s uncle Shivpal Yadav. Shivpal, the leader of the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia (PSP-L), is contesting on the SP ticket in the forthcoming election.

In a last-minute move, the Congress on Tuesday decided not to nominate a candidate for the Karhal seat in Mainpuri district, where Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav is contesting in his first Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

On Tuesday, nominations for both Kahral and Jaswant Nagar were closed. The Congress had previously declared Gyanwati Devi as its candidate for the Karhal seat, but she was instructed to withdraw her nomination at the last minute by the party’s high headquarters.

Gopal Kulshrestha, Congress’s Mainpuri district president, said: “Gyanwati Devi was the Congress candidate for Karhal seat. However, on instructions from the party high command, she was asked not to file her nomination.”

“Party candidates will be contesting from the other three assembly seats of Mainpuri district. Vinita Shakya will contest from Mainpuri Sadar seat, Prof Vijay Narain from Kisni while Mamta Rajput will contest from Bhongaon seat,” Kulshrestha added.

Akhilesh Yadav, the former chief minister, filed his candidacy in Karhal on Monday, where the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has selected Union minister of state for law and justice SP Singh Baghel as its candidate. Baghel, too, announced his candidacy on Monday.

The Samajwadi Party’s national spokesperson, Abdul Hafiz Gandhi, praised Congress’s decision.

“It’s an old tradition that both the parties follow regarding direct family members. It’s nothing new. The move is welcome for these two seats. Congress may have announced the candidate on the Karhal seat because they were not aware that Akhilesh ji would contest it and eventually they withdrew the candidate,” he added.

Neither the SP nor the Congress regularly field candidates against members of the other’s first family. The only time the Congress fileded Raj Babbar against Akhilesh’s wife Dimple Yadav in a Lok Sabha election was in 2009 when she ran from the Firozabad constituency. The election had been won by Babbar.

Akhilesh Yadav expressed his displeasure at the time, threatening to field SP candidates against the Gandhis.

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