BJP’s Mainpuri bypoll pick Raghuraj Singh Shakya claims it is wrong to call him “selfish” as he joined the saffron party before the Uttar Pradesh elections when Samajwadi party chief Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav were together.
Shakya, 58, was once a close associate of Shivpal, but left his Pragatisheel Samajwadi party to join the BJP earlier this year.
The BJP candidate, who is running against SP’s Dimple Yadav, says he stood behind Shivpal five years ago when no one chose him after he fell out with Akhilesh after a bitter power struggle.
Shakya’s comments are a clear answer to Shivpal’s barb calling him “ambitious” and “selfish”.
Asked about the claim of the Samajwadi Party (SP) that it would win the bypoll by a large margin after Akhilesh and Shivpal reunited, Shakya tells PTI: “When they have united, people have united too . This will ensure that the BJP emerges victorious.”
Shakya’s selection as the BJP candidate was read in the political circles as the Saffron Party’s attempt to exploit its close relationship with Shivpal, who until then had not pledged his support to the SP candidate.
The ruling party’s calculation seems to have gone wrong as Shivpal later pledged support to Dimple’s daughter-in-law and buried the hatchet with his nephew.
Poll observers say after Yadavs, OBC Shakyas make up the bulk of about 17 lakh voters in Mainpuri Lok Saba constituency.
Shakya faces the tough task of challenging the SP candidate in the seat represented by political heavyweight Mulayam Singh Yadav.
He claims that the saffron party will annex Mainpuri from the rival just like in Azamgarh and Rampur.
Going back to Shivpal’s comments, Shakya says, ‘How can I be called a selfish person? I joined the BJP before the 2022 Uttar Pradesh elections when the uncle-cousin couple (referring to Shivpal and Akhilesh) reunited.
“In 2017, when no one sided with Shivpal Singh Yadav, it was Raghuraj Singh Shakya who stood steadfastly behind him. In 2017 I didn’t get a ticket (for the municipal elections), but I didn’t mind. But now you have become one after you left us,” he adds. When asked that emotions will prevail in this bypoll, especially after the death of Mulayam Singh, the BJP leader says, ‘This emotion is only among their people (SP workers). There is no such emotion among the people, and the people are not emotional towards them. If the public was emotional towards them, then they (SP leaders) would not have to go from one side street to another to meet people. Why are they going from door to door now?” Shivpal Yadav was recently looking for Dimple Yadav at a gathering in Jaswant Nagar and had said, “There is a person wandering among you looking for voices… He says he is my ‘shishya’ is. “Let be a disciple, he is not even my ‘chela’. If he had been, he would not have left clandestinely. He is an ambitious, selfish and opportunistic person,” he had said, apparently referring to the BJP contender.
Shakya further adds that people are looking for change in this midterm election.
“They are tired of (Samajwadi party) terror and the ‘goonda raj’ that was curbed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Yogi Adityanath,” he says.
“…Besides Netaji’s (Mulayam Singh Yadav) margin of victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls was (only) over 90,000 votes,” he says.
“The public is against them (the SP), and the public knows very well that when the family (Yadav) has united, it has done so only to deceive them,” he says.
Asked about the reasons behind his confidence to win the crucial seat, Shakya says he gets his confidence from people who are “showing their eagerness to organize a Shakya election program in their stead.”
About Alok Shakya, who was appointed SP district chairman of the Mainpuri unit, the BJP candidate said that he (Alok) was a state-level leader locked up in the district while the community wants him to become the SP chief should have been for UP. state unit.
Voting in Mainpuri will take place on December 5, while vote counting will take place on December 8.
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