Dalit icon Chandrashekhar Azad takes on Yogi Adityanath

Chandrashekhar Azad and his party have no base in Gorakhpur or even eastern Uttar Pradesh

For Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s first-ever state election next month, the first rival was declared today – army chief Bhim Chandrashekhar Azad, also a rookie. Unlike Yogi Adityanath, who was five times an MP, Chandrashekhar Azad has never contested elections before.

The Dalit leader said in November that he would challenge Yogi Adityanath. Today, his Azad Samaj party officially announced it, just days after the BJP revealed that Yogi Adityanath would stand in Gorakhpur Sadar.

Yogi Adityanath’s main rival will be the as-yet-unannounced Samajwadi Party candidate. Azad said he wanted to fight the chief minister anyway, regardless of the number of opposition candidates.

“I am the only politician in the last five years to have spent half that time in prison. Because of this government. I will not let the chief minister of this government go to the assembly. That is why I am fight against him. the opposition is welcome to fight, but I will still fight against him,” Azad told reporters.

The Gorakhpur Sadar assembly seat has been continuously owned by the BJP since 1989 except once when it was won by an affiliate. In 2017, Radha Mohan Das Agarwal of the BJP won the seat by a margin of over 60,000 votes.

Army Chief Bhim and his party have no base in Gorakhpur or even in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Azad, 34, had backtracked after announcing in 2019 that he would face Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He later explained that since he had no party at the time, he thought it best to support Mayawati’s party and the Congress.

Azad recently said his party would not tie up with Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi party after their seat-sharing talks broke down.

He said he felt cheated by the Samajwadi party and reneged on his promise to offer his party 25 seats to contest.

Akhilesh Yadav said he would try to secure two seats for Azad’s party, but was told army chief Bhim was no longer interested.

Azad and his Bhim army were in the spotlight during the May 2017 clashes between Dalits and upper caste Thakurs in Saharanpur.

Azad was arrested after the clashes. Although he was released on bail by Allahabad High Court, Uttar Pradesh police arrested him under the strict National Security Act (NSA). He was released in September 2018 after 16 months in prison.

Comments are closed.