Mulayam, Akhilesh root for Aparna Yadav

Assembly polls: SP patron's younger daughter-in-law pitted against Rita Bahuguna

Mulayam, Akhilesh root for Aparna Yadav

She is perhaps the lone politician member of the Yadav clan, who enjoys cordial relations with both SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, and for whose victory the entire family has sought votes.

Looking for her maiden entry into the Assembly, Mulayam’s younger daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav is locked in a tough electoral battle with former UP Congress president and sitting MLA Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who had joined the BJP days before the polls and is in the fray from the Lucknow Cantonment Assembly seat.

Polling will be held here on Sunday for the third phase. Aparna, the wife of Prateek Yadav who was born to Mulayam’s second wife Sadhna Gupta, also happens to be the only member of the SP family who is contesting from a seat where the Yadav community votes are not decisive.

Even the Muslims, considered to be the vote bank of the SP, are not in sizable numbers here.
That the seat has been tough for the SP can be gauged from the fact that even during the 2012 Assembly polls, when the party had registered a massive victory, the party nominee had finished fourth here.

“It is going to be a tough fight,” conceded Rajesh Kumar Yadav, a local SP worker. An advantage with Aparna seems to be that she had become active in the constituency quite early, perhaps owing to assurance from the party leadership that she would be fielded from there. “I have been active in the area for a long time... I have spent my childhood here... people of the area know me well,” Aparna said.

The other advantage seems to be widespread resentment within the saffron party over Rita’s nomination. Though Rita is a sitting MLA from the seat, her candidature from the BJP has not gone down well with old party workers. Many local leaders have either withdrawn from campaigning or are working against her.

The supporters of BJP leader Suresh Chandra Tiwari, who was runner-up in 2012, had also held a demonstration before the party office in the state capital to protest against denial of nomination to him.

Rita, however, seems unperturbed. “I have fulfilled the promises I had made to the people here the last time and I am certain people will support me,” she said. Aparna’s candidature has turned the contest into a matter of prestige for the SP family. Akhilesh and his wife Dimple Yadav have also campaigned for Aparna.

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