To retain numbers, SP drops sitting MPs in Bundelkhand

Sources in the party claim that the decision has been taken based on feedback that SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav gathered from local leaders

In a bid to retain its position in UP's Bundelkhand region, Samajwadi Party (SP) has denied tickets to two of its sitting MPs —- from Jalaum and Banda —- and fielded a new face in Hamirpur.

Sources in the party claim that the decision has been taken based on feedback that SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav gathered from local leaders.

Bundelkhand region includes seven districts ? Jalaun, Jhansi, Lalitpur, Mahoba, Banda, Hamirpur and Chitrakoot — and accounts for four parliamentary seats of which two are held by SP and one each by BSP and the Congress. Of 19 assembly seats in the region, BSP holds seven, SP has five, Congress has four while BJP has three.

The two dropped sitting MPs are Ghanshyam Anuragi from Jalaun and R K Singh Patel from Banda. Anuragi was dropped after local SP unit informed Mulayam about brewing resentment against him. "Leave aside being in the contest, Anuragi was not even in the top four. He has been replaced by Narendra Verma, an MLA who has good reputation in the region. This will be Verma's maiden Lok Sabha election," a SP leader stated.

Patel, who was engaged in a bitter battle with his cousin Bal Kumar Patel, the SP MP from Mirzapur and brother of slain dacoit Dadua, has been replaced by bidi tycoon, Shyama Charan Gupta. "There was no other way. It is better to choose Dadua's family over the extended family as they hold sway over Kurmi votes in the region," he added.

In Hamirpur, SP has fielded former minister Vishambher Prasad Nishad to counter the influence of BJP leader Uma Bharti who won from adjoining Charkhari Assembly seat. Nishad replaces Ashok Kumar Singh Chandel who had contested as SP candidate in 2009 Lok Sabha elections and was placed third. Nishad has been picked personally by Mulayam as he hails from the fishing community, which is regarded as Most Backward Class among the OBC. Nishad has also been appointed as national general secretary of the party with an aim to woo fishing community.

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