Mulayam Singh's contest from the Azamgarh Lok Sabha constituency was necessitated by the Bharatiya Janata Party's decision to field its prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi from Varanasi, an SP leader told IANS here.
The SP leader, who declined to be named, said his party wanted to "check the growing popularity of the BJP in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Hence, Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) is contesting from Azamgarh".
His clarification came after the Aligarh Muslim University Teachers' Association (AMUTA) accused Mulayam Singh of pursuing communal politics and launched a campaign against the SP president's candidature from Azamgarh.
Azamgarh, which also has a sizeable population of Yadavs, goes to the polls May 12.
AMUTA secretary Aftaab Alam, who is camping in Azamgarh, urged people to shun the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister in the polls.
The association accused the SP leader of turning a blind eye to the plight of Muzaffarnagar riot survivors.
It also blamed the SP-led state government for failing to control the Muzaffarnagar riots in 2012. The riots claimed over 63 lives and left several thousand homeless.