Lucknow, Mar 27 (UNI) Even as political parties are warming up for the parliamentary by-election of Azamgarh and Khalilabad along with three Assembly by polls in Uttar Pradesh, major parties have pinned their hopes on the turncoats to sail them through in the battle of ballots, that is seen as a dress rehearsal before the Lok Sabha elections, slated early next year.
The candidates, who had contested the 2004 Lok Sabha elections in Azamgarh and Khalilabad constituencies, are more or less the same - only their political affiliation has changed in this by-election.
By-elections in these two parliamentary constituencies were necessiated after two BSP MPs Ramakant Yadav from Azamgarh and Bhalchand Yadav from Khaliabad were disqualified following switching their political loyalty.
Polling to the by-elections will be held on April 12 and result would be declared on April 16.
Ramakant Yadav had earlier joined Samajwadi Party during the last Assembly elections despite being BSP MP but this time he is contesting election from Azamgarh on a BJP ticket. Bhalchand Yadav had preferred cycle (Samajwadi Party election symbol) in this bye-election rather than riding haathi' - the BSP election symbol.
It is not only the tryst to retain the seat that had forced these leaders to change their political loyalty, even the losers had preferred to don different political colour in this by-election.
Bhishm Shankar Tiwari, the elder son of mafia don turned politician Hari Shankar Tiwari, had contested the last Lok Sabha election from Khalilabad as Samajwadi Party candidate. He lost the election to Bhalchand Yadav by a margin of just 27,000 votes. This time he is a BSP nominee from the same constituency.
Interestingly, in 2004 Lok Sabha elections BJP had fielded Ram Prasad Chaudhry from Khalilabad. He gave a tough fight in this Kurmi-dominated seat and got 1.80 lakh votes. Chaudhry has now joined BSP and is even the Food and Civil Supplies Minister in the Mayawati government. His changed political loyalty would also be put to test in this by-election.
BSP is pinning hopes on another turncoat Akbar Ahmad Dumpy to retain Azamgarh seat. Dumpy had left Congress recently to join BSP.
Dumpy had won parliamentary election from Akbarpur in 1998 defeating Ramakant Yadav but lost election the next year. His wife Naina Balsawar had unsuccessfully contested 2004 Lok Sabha elections from Nainital on BSP ticket.
Later, husband and wife duo left BSP and joined Congress. And just before parliamentary by-election Dumpy has re-joined BSP while his wife is still in Congress.
For Azamgarh seat, Congress has given ticket to one Ahsan Khan, a close confident of rebel SP MP Beni Prasad Verma. Congress leaders in the constituency are protesting on the selection of Khan, an outsider. The Congress candidate had recently joined the party after staying with the Samajwadi Party and other political groups.
Similarly, in the three Assembly by polls, sitting independent MLA Rajpal Tyagi is now contesting from Muradnagar seat in Ghaziabad district on BSP ticket. Mr Tyagi, who was the minister in the previous Mulayam Singh Yadav government, contested the last Assembly polls as independent but resigned from the seat early this month to join the BSP.
By-election for the Colonelganj seat in Gonda district was ordered after sitting Congress MLA Ajay Pratap Singh resigned and joined the BSP. Though Mr Singh was not given ticket by the party in the by polls, his close related Brij Singh is contesting the polls.
The Bilgram seat fell vacant following the death of the sitting BSP member Upendra Tiwari and his wife Rajni is contesting on the BSP ticket.
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