Top contests of 2014: Mulayam vs Ramakant vs Jamali in Azamgarh

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Azamgarh (UP), May 12: The contest in Azamgarh on May 12 will be no less exciting than that of Varanasi. Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav will take on his former party colleague and the current sitting MP from this seat, Ramakant Yadav, of the BJP. The Congress, BSP and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have also fielded candidates from this seat, making the battle an interesting one.

[Top contests of 2014]

2009 result: BJP's Ramakant Yadav defeated BSP's Akbar Ahmad Dumpy by 49,039 votes (difference in vote-share was 7%)

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Azamgarh will go to the poll on May 12.

About Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP)

The 74-year-old seasoned politician is contesting a prestige battle in Azamgarh besides Mainpuri. The three-time chief minister of Uttar Pradesh is desperate to win from this seat and one gets a hint of that when sources in the SP say that Mulayam is ready to give up his Mainpuri seat if he wins from Azamgarh. The SP believes that the concentration of a sizeable Yadav and Muslim population in this constituency has moved Mulayam to decide to contest from here. He had made Azamgarh a division during his stint as the chief minister and is known to have carried out development work here.

Ramakant Yadav (BJP)

Ramakant yadav, 56, has won Azamgarh four times (two times as a SP candidate and once on BSP and BJP tickets) and the interesting thing about Ramakant is that he is contesting against a man with whom he had spent a considerable time till 2004 when he left the SP. It was reported that Ramakant wanted to return to the SP after Mulayam decided to contest from Azamgarh but the former denied it and said he would campaign with even greater intensity to defeat Mulayam. Ramakant alleged the SP chief of humiliating various leaders of the party, including himself.

Shah Alam alias Guddu Jamali (BSP)

A fresher in politics, Jamali was the only BSP candidate to have won a seat (Mubarakpur) in Azamgarh segment in the 2012 UP assembly polls. It is believed that the Muslim and Rajput votes in this constituency could go to Jamali, a builder by profession.

The AAP has fielded Rajesh Yadav, 43. He was earlier associated with the SP and later joined India Against Corruption. He joined the AAP when it was formed two years ago.

The Congress has fielded Arvind Jaiswal, the Azamgarh district Congress Committee chief. Jaiswal, 39, is agriculturist by profession.

Analysis: The SP might still hope that Mulayam's appeal as the Muslims' messiah may work in Azamgarh, but the reality might be different. Post Muzaffarnagar riots, neither Muslims nor Hindus (including Dalits) are happy with Mulayam. Last time the SP had won from this seat was in 1999 and that too despite all the good work that the SP chief had reportedly done here.

The recent remark by BJP leader Amit Shah that Azamgarh is a terror base was a deliberate ploy to polarize for once the Muslim votes get polarised between the SP and BSP, the Hindu votes (both Dalits and Yadavs) might go towards Ramakant's direction. However, the Yadav factor might also see the clansmen getting divided between Mulayam and Ramakant, encouraging the saffron party. The BSP is also feeling enthusiastic by the slogan ‘Ek dabao, do bhagao' (Press one, drive two Yadavs out) slogan. The contest in Azamgarh is interestingly poised at the moment.

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