SP plays not-so-musical chairs with candidates in UP

Lucknow, April 4 (IANS) Selection of candidates in Samajwadi Party is turning into a game of not-so-musical chairs in Uttar Pradesh, adding to the confusion and resentment among the cadres.

With nominations closing for the second phase on Thursday, Samajwadi Party (SP) is undecided about its candidates.

On Thursday, Akhilesh Yadav changed the Meerut candidate after cancelling the candidature of Atul Pradhan and replacing him with Sunita Verma.

Earlier, SP had replaced its Meerut Lok Sabha candidate Bhanu Pratap Singh with Atul Pradhan.

Speculations are now doing the rounds of a change of candidate in Budaun, which goes to polls on May 7.

SP candidate Shivpal Yadav said that the people of Budaun wanted a younger candidate and that Aditya should contest the polls. “The decision rests with the party president,” he said on Thursday. A party workers’ conference has passed a proposal in support of Aditya and it has been sent to the national leadership.

Incidentally, the SP president had first announced the name of Dharmendra Yadav from Budaun which was later changed to Shivpal Yadav, and now another change is in the offing.

On Wednesday, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav’s supposed letter dated March 27, the last day of first phase nominations, went viral on social media, wherein he purportedly informed the Returning Officer of Moradabad Lok Sabha seat that the party has invalidated Form-B issued to its official candidate Ruchi Veera and sitting MP S. T. Hasan would be the party’s authorised nominee.

Yadav had denied the ticket to Hasan after announcing his candidature in the first list. He was replaced with Ruchi Veera.

Hasan’s supporters took to streets to oppose campaigning by Ruchi Veera, leading to a tussle among SP workers in the constituency.

Hasan claimed that the SP chief wanted him to contest the Lok Sabha election and had sent a letter to the Returning Officer for cancellation of Ruchi Veera’s nomination as the SP official candidate. But by the time the letter was delivered to the Returning Officer, the time for withdrawal of nominations had passed, Hasan added.

Hasan added that a conspiracy was hatched to deny him the ticket. He has since withdrawn himself from the campaign.

A similar situation is prevailing in the neighbouring Rampur Lok Sabha constituency.

Veteran party leader Mohd Azam Khan’s supporters are unhappy after the party fielded Maulana Mohibullah Nadwi, Imam of the Parliament Street Mosque in Delhi.

Khan’s supporters had demanded that someone from the Yadav family or Akhilesh Yadav himself should contest the seat that has been the stronghold of Azam Khan, a 10-time former MLA and an ex-MP from Rampur.

SP chief tried to nip the rebellion in the bud by fielding Nadwi.

Azam Khan’s close aide Asim Khan also filed his nomination but it was rejected.

In another change of candidate, SP has also replaced Manoj Chaudhary with former MLA Amarpal Singh in the Baghpat Lok Sabha constituency.

SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary defended the decisions to change candidates and said that a "few changes" will not impact the party prospects. “Often, the views of party workers have to be respected too,” he said.

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