Manth bypoll: CM steps in to attract ‘indifferent’ Jats

Akhilesh Yadav

To boost Samajwadi Party's (SP) prospects in Manth bypoll, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will address a rally in the area on Sunday. The constituency, which is witnessing bypoll due to the resignation of RLD scion Jayant Chowdhary, goes to polls on Tuesday.

Manth in Mathura district has always remained aloof to the SP in the past. During the 2012 Assembly elections, SP candidate Sanjay Sharma polled only 1,058 votes finishing eighth. The area with a sizeable population of Jats has witnessed Brahmin-Jat contest in the past with Shyam Sunder Sharma emerging victorious six times. He was runner-up to Jayant in 2012 elections.

As the stakes are high this time, Akhilesh has decided to step in. In keeping with the tradition, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav avoided campaigning in bypolls.

There are many reasons for the Chief Minister to intervene. Firstly, the candidate — Sanjay Lathar — has been handpicked by him. Lathar is presently national president of Yuvjan Sabha, a frontal organisation of SP, of which Akhilesh is in-charge. Enough campaigning has already been done in the area that Lathar is close to Akhilesh and the area will not lag in development once the SP wins. The area, hardly an hour's drive from Noida, still lags in all aspects.

At present, Lathar is locked in a fierce triangular contest with Trinamool Congress's Shyam Sunder Sharma and RLD's Yogesh Nahawar.

Secondly, the SP being weak in western region, particularly in Mathura, the victory will provide a foothold to the party.

Lathar's victory will also open the door for the Jat community, which still prefers RLD due to Choudhary Charan Singh's legacy. RLD supremo Ajit Singh may not share easy relationship with Mulayam, but Akhilesh has good rapport with Jayant Choudhary.

During Ferozabad Lok Sabha elections in 2009, Jayant had particularly campaigned for Akhilesh's wife Dimple Yadav in Tundla constituency, which has a good number of Jat voters and even shared stage with Akhilesh while addressing a rally.

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