New Delhi: After much dilly-dallying, former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav will contest in the UP assembly election 2022, news agency ANI reported, quoting sources.
Earlier, Yadav had said that he would not contest the polls and would prefer to focus on every seat in the state.
Akhilesh Yadav is the Lok Sabha MP from Azamgarh in eastern Uttar Pradesh and has never contest a state election. His seat has not been decided yet, sources say.
According to insiders, the pressure on Akhilesh was built as Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath will be contesting from Gorakhpur. Mulayam Singh's daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav joining the BJP is another pressure point on Samajwadi Party which apparently made Akhilesh change his mind.
According to sources, Akhilesh's constituency has not yet been decided. Some reports claimed he might be fielded from two seats and one of them could be Azamgarh's Gopalpur.
Reports of Akhilesh Yadav contesting the election come a day his sister-in-law Aparna Yadav is tipped to join the BJP in Delhi, going in the opposite direction after several key backward caste leaders from the BJP switched to the Samajwadi Party recently.
In November, Akhilesh Yadav had told reporters he would not contest the election. But his party rushed to clarify that such a decision had yet to be taken by the party.
"I will not be contesting the assembly election myself," the Samajwadi MP had been quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal have announced an alliance for the assembly elections, while the Nationalist Congress Party has announced to have tied up with the SP for both the Uttar Pradesh and the Goa elections. The Trinamool Congress said it will not contest in UP but will support Akhilesh's party and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee will also campaign for Samajwadi Party.
In 2012, when he led the Samajwadi Party to a big victory in UP, he took over as the country's youngest Chief Minister at 38. He was a Lok Sabha MP from Kannauj at the time.
Later, he took the route of the state Legislative Council. His wife Dimple Yadav was elected unopposed from the seat he vacated, Kannauj.