"I will not leave Mainpuri after winning"

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh on Friday filed his nomination from Mainpuri and pledged loyalty to his traditional seat, saying he was contesting from Azamgarh also only to counter the impact of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who is fielded in Varanasi. (Azamgarh abuts Varanasi)

“I will not leave Mainpuri after winning. I am contesting from Azamgarh only on the insistence of party workers in Purvanchal,” Mr. Singh told a group of lawyers in a function organised before filing his papers.

The SP supremo, who got a rapturous welcome at the local party office on his arrival from Etawah, was accompanied to the District Collector’s office by brother and SP general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav, district SP chief Khuman Singh Verma and party leader Mohammed Omar.

Mr. Singh claimed that his party’s prospects had improved in eastern U.P. after he announced that he would fight from Azamgarh also.

Mr. Singh said no party would be able to form government at the Centre without his party’s support. The SP would also play a strong role in the third front as it would “win maximum number of seats in U.P.,” he said.

In Mainpuri, Mr. Singh will face challenges from AAP leader Baba Hardev Singh, the BJP’s B.S.S. Chauhan and BSP’s Sanghamitra Maurya, daughter of Leader of the Opposition in U.P. Assembly Swami Prasad Maurya.

Joshi files papers

Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi and party firebrand Uma Bharti also filed nominations from their respective seats, Kanpur and Jhansi.

Mr. Joshi, who had to vacate his seat, Varanasi, for Mr. Modi, will challenge three-time sitting Congress MP Sri Prakash Jaiswal.

Ms. Bharti is pitted against Pradeep Kumar Jain Aditya, Minister of State in the Ministry of Rural Development. The BSP has fielded Anuradha Sharma, a close relative of party supremo Mayawati’s close aide Satish Mishra, while the AAP’s Archana Gupta is also in the fray.