LUCKNOW: The SP on Tuesday named candidates for 16 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, becoming the first party to come up with a list for the elections which are still some months away.
Dimple Yadav, wife of Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav, and two other leaders from the Yadav family -- Akshay Yadav and Dharmendra Yadav -- figure in the party's first list.
The SP also named Awadhesh Prasad as its candidate from Faizabad constituency, which covers Ayodhya district.
Currently, Prasad, a nine-time MLA, is representing Milkipur assembly constituency in the UP Assembly.
Sitting MP Dimple Yadav has been fielded from Mainpuri, while party MP Shafiqur Rahman Barq, a five-time MP, will contest from Sambhal, according to the list of candidates released by the party on its official 'X' handle.
Ravidas Mehrotra, sitting MLA from Lucknow Central, has been named as the party candidate from Lucknow Lok Sabha seat.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is the MP from Lucknow.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rajnath Singh had defeated actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha's wife Poonam Singh, who contested on the SP ticket.
According to the SP's list, party MLA from Katehari in Ambedkarnagar district, Lalji Verma, has been named as party candidate from the Ambedkarnagar parliamentary constituency.
Akshay Yadav, son of senior SP leader Ramgopal Yadav, has been named party's candidate from Firozabad, while Dharmendra Yadav fielded from Budaun constituency.
Dharmendra Yadav is the son of Abhay Ram Yadav, the younger brother of SP founder late Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Dimple Yadav, a three-time MP, had won the bypoll to the Mainpuri seat following the demise of Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Dharmendra Yadav was first elected as an MP from Mainpuri in 2004 bypolls, while he has represented Budaun in the Lok Sabha in 2009 and 2014.
In 2019, he lost the seat to Sanghmitra Maurya of the BJP.
Akshay Yadav was elected to the Lok Sabha in 2014 from Firozabad.
However, in 2019, he was defeated by BJP's Chandra Sen Jadon.
The other candidates announced by the Samajwadi Party are Annu Tandon from Unnao, Rajaram Pal from Akbarpur, Devesh Shakya from Etah, Utkarsh Verma from Kheri, Anand Bhadauria from Dhaurahra, Naval Kishor Shakya from Farrukhabad, Shivshankar Singh Patel from Banda, Ramprasad Chaudhary from Basti and Kajal Nishad from Gorakhpur.
Annu Tandon had won the 2009 Lok Sabha elections on a Congress ticket from Unnao.
However, she lost the 2014 and 2019 elections (as a Congress candidate).
In 2020, Tandon resigned from the Congress and joined the SP.
Two-time Lok Sabha MP Rajaram Pal won Akbarpur seat on a Congress ticket in 2009.
While Utkarsh Verma (Kheri Lok Sabha seat) is a two-time MLA from Lakhimpur, Anand Bhaduaria (Dhaurahra seat) is a former MLC.
Speculation is rife that Akhilesh Yadav might contest from Kannauj and Shivpal Singh Yadav from Azamgarh.
The list of SP candidates came a day after the Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Dal on Monday appeared unsatisfied with the 18 seats offered to the two INDIA bloc allies in UP by the SP in seat-sharing arrangements for the Lok Sabha polls.
The SP has offered 11 seats to the Congress and seven seats to the RLD for the upcoming parliamentary elections.
The Congress has demanded that it should be given at least 22 seats it had won in 2009, while the RLD wants eight seats in the politically sensitive state which has 80 Lok Sabha constituencies.
"Positive talks are going on regarding seat sharing.
We want that the party should contest on more than 22 seats, which it had won in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections in the state.
The party's central leadership is in talks with the Samajwadi Party about this," UP Congress chief Ajay Rai had told PTI.
A senior RLD leader said the party wants one more seat of Deoria from where its state president Ramashish Rai entered into the fray in 2004 on a Congress ticket.
SP's chief spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary had said that the SP would stick to the 11+7 seats formula to allies, and as of now there were "no further modifications in this".