Amid speculations of Samajwadi Party (SP) President Akhilesh Yadav contesting the upcoming Uttar Pradesh (UP) Assembly elections from Azamgarh, the SP chief, on Wednesday, 19 January, said,
"I will only contest the elections from Azamgarh if the people of Azamgarh give me their permission... that is if I do contest the elections."
Yadav also added: "I will fight from where the party decides."
Earlier, on Wednesday morning, party sources had told The Quint that Yadav will be contesting the upcoming Assembly polls in UP. However, they did not confirm the constituency.
Yadav, who served as the chief minister of UP from 2012-17, is the youngest person to have held the chief minister's office in the state. This is the first time that he will be contesting the polls.
In November 2021, Akhilesh Yadav was quoted as saying by PTI that he would not be contesting the UP polls. However, soon after the statement was made, SP spokespersons rushed to clarify that a final decision will be taken in the matter by the party.
As the crucial elections approach, the SP has emerged as the most significant competitor of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state. As many as 11 leaders, including three ministers, from the saffron party have defected to the SP in the past few days.
"BJP wickets falling one after the other, although our CM does not know how to play cricket," the SP chief had said at the induction ceremony of the newcomers, taking a dig at Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Akhilesh Yadav Announces Relaunch of Samajwadi Pension Scheme
"When the Samajwadi Party had led the government, about 50 lakh poor families were attached to the Samajwadi Pension Scheme. The Samajwadi Pension Scheme will be restarted. But this time not 6 thousand but 18 thousand rupees will be given annually to the needy," Yadav announced at a press conference on Wednesday.
The scheme under the SP government will benefit families categorised as BPL (below poverty line) and women in need, he stated.
The announcement comes ahead of the UP Assembly elections, which will take place in seven phases beginning 10 February, and will see parties contesting for 403 Assembly constituencies.
The BJP, which presently holds a majority in the state, had won the 2017 polls with a large mandate of 312 seats. The SP had come second with 47 seats.