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Modi effect: SP changes its Lok Sabha candidates

After Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)  appointed Gujarat chief minister’s close aide, Amit Shah as the in charge of Uttar Pradesh, speculation has been rife that Narendra Modi, might contest elections from the state, which has 80 Lok Sabha seats.

With polarisation being a major factor if Modi contests from Uttar Pradesh, the first signs were visible on Friday, with Samajwadi Party (SP) replacing its candidate from Bijnor and Aligarh with Muslim names.  SP general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav, replaced Anuradha Chaudhary, who had deflected from Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) with Aamir Alam, in Bijnor. Similarly, in Aligarh, Kajal Sharma has been replaced by Zafar Alam.

In the 2009 general elections, the Samajwadi Party had fielded Yashvir Singh from Bijnor, where he managed mere 7.22 per cent of votes and stood fourth. The seat was won by RLD’s Sanjay Singh Chauhan, despite 41 per cent of Muslim population in the state. In 2009, it was Zafar Alam who had contested from Aligarh but had lost to Raj Kumar Chauhan of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), in Aligarh the Muslim population is about 17 per cent.

Apart from replacing the candidates from Bijnor and Aligarh, the party has also replaced its candidate from Azamgarh and Gonda. In Azamgarh, Balram Yadav has been replaced by Havaldar Singh and Kitibhardhan Singh has been replaced by Rahul Shukla in Gonda.There has been speculation that that SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s younger son Prateek Yadav would contest polls from Azamgarh seat.

The party has also announced Firoz Aftab as its candidate from Saharanpur and Nathini Kushawaha from Kushinagar. Party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav said that the final list for the Lok Sabha elections will be released by next week.  The party has already announced the names of more than 60 candidates.
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