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Epaper Thursday, June 13, 2024

Uttar Pradesh

SP's candidate shuffle in Meerut: Atul Pradhan likely out, Sunita Verma in

April 04, 2024 10:59 AM

Lucknow : The Samajwadi Party (SP) is likely to change its previously announced candidate for the Lok Sabha elections from the Meerut seat once again, replacing Atul Pradhan with Sunita Verma, the wife of former MLA Yogesh Verma, sources said.


According to party sources, Akhilesh Yadav's party is likely to field Sunita Verma, who is also a former mayor.

 


Sunita Verma and her husband, Yogesh Verma, who were expelled from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in 2019, joined the Samajwadi Party in 2021.

 

Yogesh Verma was elected MLA for two terms--2007 and 2012--on a BSP ticket but lost in the 2022 assembly elections as an SP candidate. His wife, Sunita, became mayor in 2017.

 

Earlier, unease among local workers of the SP over ticket distribution in the Meerut-Hapur LS constituency forced the party to rethink its official candidate, Bhanu Pratap Singh, and late on Monday, the party replaced Singh with a sitting MLA from Sardhana, Atul Pradhan.


The BJP is banking on not just Arun Govil's appeal as the actor who played Ram in the widely popular "Ramayana," but also that he is a local.


Arun Govil, who joined the BJP in 2021, replaced three-time MP Rajendra Agarwal, who has been holding the Meerut seat since 2004.


The BJP is eyeing Western UP with optimism to achieve its ambitious target of 370 seats on its own, despite facing setbacks in the last elections. In 2014, the BJP secured 24 out of 27 seats in the region, which dwindled to 19 in 2019, with all eight seats going to the SP-BSP combined.


In 2019, BJP candidate Rajendra Agarwal managed to clinch the Meerut seat by defeating the SP-backed BSP candidate Haji Yakub Qureshi by a thin margin of less than 5,000 votes.


In 2014, the BJP clinched a staggering 71 seats in the state. However, in 2019, facing a formidable alliance between the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the ruling alliance's seat count went down to 64. Despite the BSP securing 10 seats, the SP failed to surpass five.


Lok Sabha polls will be held in seven phases beginning April 19. Uttar Pradesh, which sends the maximum number of MPs, 80, to Parliament, will vote in all seven phases.


With political dynamics shifting in the state, the BJP is spearheading a robust alliance, encompassing parties like the RLD, SBSP, Apna Dal (S), and Nishad Party, bolstering its position.

 

On the other hand, while Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav aligns with the opposition bloc, Mayawati embarks on the electoral journey solo.

 

Uttar Pradesh will vote in all seven phases. Voting for phases one and two will be held on April 19 and April 26.
Next, the state will once again poll in phases three and four on May 7 and May 13.

 

The Uttar Pradesh electorate will also vote in phases five, six, and seven on May 20, May 23, and June 1, respectively. Polling in Meerut will take place on April 26, during the second phase. The votes will be counted on June 4.

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