Samajwadi Party chief and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who has contested the Lok Sabha polls from Azamgarh, has the consistency of the constituency’s voting record since 1996 to bolster his confidence.

For more than two decades, Azamgarh has voted either for his Samajwadi Party or the Bahujan Samaj Party, with whom it has an alliance. The exception was in 2009, when a BJP candidate was voted to power.

There are 14 others in the contest, the most prominent of whom is the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate, Bhojpuri film star Dinesh Lal Yadav who is known to his fans as Nirahua.

Azamgarh was one of only five constituencies that the Samajwadi Party retained in the 2014 polls following the BJP’s landslide victory. That year, the seat was won by Akhilesh Yadav’ss father, party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Youngest chief minister of India’s largest state

Akhilesh Yadav is one of six members of the Yadav family contesting the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh.

He won his first Lok Sabha election as a candidate from Kannauj in 2000. He was re-elected in 2004 and 2009 from the same constituency. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Akhilesh Yadav won from both Firozabad and Kannauj, and chose to represent the latter. But he had to vacate the Kannauj seat in 2012 when he was elected to the state Legislative Assembly and appointed chief minister.

He was 38 years old when he took over as chief minister, making him the youngest person to occupy the office in Uttar Pradesh.

The Samajwadi Party chief’s political career has been marked by political rifts in his family. The spats contributed to the party’s loss in the 2017 Assembly elections, when it was in an alliance with the Congress.

This time, his party has allied with longtime foe Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party for the first time. During an interview with The Indian Express, Akhilesh Yadav claimed the 2019 pre-poll alliance between the two regional outfits would determine India’s future.

The competition

The ruling BJP is hoping to make inroads into the constituency while riding on the popularity of actor-politician Dinesh Lal Yadav. Yadav accused the Samajwadi Party of using the Yadav community as a vote bank but doing nothing for them in return.

Despite this, he said that he would have supported Akhilesh Yadav and his father if either of them were prime ministerial candidates.

“He [Akhilesh Yadav] wants to make a man [Rahul Gandhi] prime minister who threatens to scrap the sedition law if his party [Congress] comes to power,” the actor was quoted as saying by PTI. Dinesh Lal Yadav said he wanted to end the politics of caste and dynasty.

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