BJP fields surprise choice Baghel against Akhilesh in Karhal

Many forts have been breached in the past, says Union Minister

Springing a surprise, the BJP has fielded Union Minister Satya Pal Singh Baghel who is Lok Sabha MP from Agra against Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav in Karhal seat in Mainpuri.

Mr. Baghel, a five-time MP, filed his nomination in Karhal, considered a stronghold of the SP and its ruling Yadav clan, soon after Mr. Yadav filed his on Monday.Mr. Baghel, who belongs to the Dhangar community (SC), won the Lok Sabha election thrice from Jalesar from 1998-2008. In the 2009 Lok Sabha election from Firozabad, then in BSP, he lost to Mr. Yadav.He was elected to the Rajya Sabha as a BSP nominee.

Mr. Baghel then joined the BJP, which nominated him as the head of its OBC Morcha. He contested the 2014 election from Firozabad but lost to SP’s Akshay Yadav, Mr. Yadav’s nephew.

Mr. Baghel contested the 2017 Assembly election from Tundla in Firozabad and won. He was appointed Cabinet Minister for Animal Husbandry in the Yogi Adityanath-led government.

In 2019, Mr. Baghel was elected to the Lok Sabha again this time from the reserved constituency of Agra.He holds the portfolio of Union Minister of State for Law and Justice.Senior leader Sobaran Singh Yadav won the last three elections from Karhal, one of them on a BJP symbol. In 2002, he contested as a BJP candidate and defeated the SP by a narrow margin. From 1986 to 2002, Ram Babu Yadav held the seat on the symbols of various socialist parties — Lok Dal, Janata Dal, Janata Party (Secular) and the SP.

Mr. Yadav said his nomination from Karhal was a “mission because this U.P. election will write the history of the next decade of the State and the country.” “Come let’s participate in this movement for positive politics with progressive thinking. Defeat negative politics, but remove it too,” he tweeted.Mr. Baghel took a dig at Mr. Yadav and said “in a democracy those who refer to their region as ancestral were insulting democracy”.

Talking to reporters in Karhal, when asked about the daunting caste equation where the Yadav community has a sizeable population, Mr. Baghel said the constituency also had a good number of “good voters” and “lakhs of beneficiaries” of the government’s schemes.Many forts have been breached in the past, he said, referring to the SP’s defeats in Firozabad, Kannauj and Budaun in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

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