Party chief Mulayam Singh leads the first list of 55 nominees

The ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh on Friday took the lead in announcing candidates for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is the MP from Mainpuri, leads the first list of 55 candidates that has the names of 18 sitting MPs, including that of his daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav from Kannauj.

Mr. Yadav’s nephew and cousin Ram Gopal Yadav’s son Akshay Yadav is the newest member from the Yadav family to enter the political arena. In what promises to be a grudge fight, he has been given the ticket from Firozabad, presently held by Raj Babbar from the Congress. Mr. Babbar defeated Ms. Dimple Yadav in the by-election in 2009. The seat was vacated by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav is on record to have said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance would not be able to get the majority in the next Lok Sabha election and considered it to be his best chance to play a dominant role in the formation of next government at the Centre.

In party meetings, the former Chief Minister has appealed to the party men to ensure that the SP gets the maximum seats from the State for it to emerge as a key player at the Centre in 2014 or earlier. He has also reportedly not ruled out the possibility of elections being held earlier.

The SP has 22 MPs in the Lok Sabha and has extended outside support to the UPA government.

Party’s national general secretary and spokesperson Ram Gopal Yadav, who released the list at the SP headquarters here, said by announcing the names and with the Lok Sabha election still some distance away, it would enable the candidates to work in their constituencies with the “minimum of resources.” It would give them an early start. The party was prepared for election being held any time. The possibility of changes in the first list was remote, unless special circumstances warranted a change, he told reporters.

In the earlier Lok Sabha election, the party chief did not field candidates from Rae Bareli and Amethi, represented by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Asked whether this time too the party would not field candidates in the two constituencies, Mr. Ram Gopal Yadav said the names for the 25 remaining seats were yet to be declared. While stating that this did not mean that the SP would leave these seats, he added that this question should be posed after the names for all the 80 seats from the State were declared.

A surprise inclusion in the first list is that of Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey. He has been given the ticket for Domariyaganj. Another name is that of alleged mafia don-turned-politician and former party MLC Arun Shankar Shukla alias “Anna” from Unnao. Mr. Shukla contested the 2009 poll from Unnao on a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket, but lost to Annu Tandon of the Congress. He was later expelled from the party by BSP chief Mayawati.

For the crucial Lucknow Parliament seat held by the BJP, since the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee won from here in 1991, the SP has played the Brahmin card by fielding the former Minister, Ashok Bajpai. While a minister in the Akhilesh Yadav government, Surendra Singh Patel has been fielded from Varanasi, wife of Minister Kamal Akhtar, Humaira is the nominee from Amroha.

The other renominated MPs are Yashvir Singh (Nagina), Dharmendra Yadav (Badaun), Mithilesh Kumar (Shahjahanpur), Usha Verma (Hardoi), Sushila Saroj (Mohanlalganj), Premdas Katheria (Etawah), Ghanshyam Anuragi (Jalaun), R.K. Patel (Banda), Rakesh Sachan (Fatehpur), Shailendra Kumar (Kaushambi ), Reoti Raman Singh (Allahabad), Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh (Kaiserganj), Neeraj Shekhar (Ballia), Tufani Saroj (Machhlishahr), Ram Kishun (Chandauli) and Pakodi Lal Kol (Robertsganj).

  • New entrant Akshay Yadav has been given ticket from Firozabad

  • Names for remaining 25 seats yet to be declared