Samajwadi Party's candidate for Faizabad Awadhesh Prasad (left) and the BJP's incumbent MP Lallu Singh.
Samajwadi Party's candidate for Faizabad Awadhesh Prasad (left) and the BJP's incumbent MP Lallu Singh.Express Illustrations | Mandar Pardikar

Lok Sabha polls: Lord Ram on my side, says Samajwadi Party candidate in Ayodhya fight

Prasad, a nine-time MLA, is busy addressing public meetings in various assembly segments of Ayodhya, which is part of the Faizabad parliamentary constituency and goes to the polls on May 20.

AYODHYA: Asserting that he enjoys the benevolence of Lord Ram, Samajwadi Party candidate from Faizabad Lok Sabha seat Awadhesh Prasad has claimed the BJP will not get any advantage from the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

"Ayodhya's Ram temple is not at all an issue this time. And the BJP will not be able to get even one per cent of benefit from it," he told PTI in an interview.

"I am fortunate that I was born in Ayodhya. In this Lok Sabha poll, Lord Ram's benevolence will be on me, and his benevolence cannot be simply ignored," Prasad added.

As campaigning for the Faizabad seat, which will go to polls on May 20, gathers momentum, Prasad -- a nine-time MLA -- is busy addressing public meetings in various assembly segments of Ayodhya which is part of the Faizabad parliamentary constituency.

Attacking BJP's Faizabad candidate and sitting MP Lallu Singh, he said, "The voters have been telling me that he (Singh) has never visited them in the last 10 years. If you ask this question to 100 persons, then at least 80 per cent of them will stand in my favour."

On Singh making efforts to win Faizabad seat for a third term, the 78-year-old SP leader said he (Singh) will not be able to save his deposit in the polls.

Denying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's road show in Ayodhya has possibly increased the BJP candidate's chances, Prasad said, "Modi ji had come to Ayodhya, but there were no discussions about his visit."

He also said that unlike previous elections, "this time, it is the people who are contesting the polls on my behalf. They are campaigning for me, and they have made up their mind to make the Samajwadi Party and INDIA bloc candidate victorious in the elections".

Samajwadi Party's candidate for Faizabad Awadhesh Prasad (left) and the BJP's incumbent MP Lallu Singh.
LS polls: Caste looms over temple in Ayodhya

When asked how strong the INDIA bloc is in Faizabad, Prasad said, "The alliance is very strong...local Congress leaders are extending full support to us in every assembly segment of the constituency."

"If we have to save the Constitution, save democracy and also the reservations, then we have to defeat the BJP.

"The voters of Faizabad want to defeat the BJP because it has virtually ruined their lives. Inflation is adversely impacting various sections of society, a large number of youngsters are jobless," the former UP minister said.

He also thanked SP chief Akhilesh Yadav for reposing faith in him and fielding him from the seat.

Prasad had won the Sohawal assembly seat for the first time in 1977 on a Janata Party ticket, followed by his victories in 1985 on a Lokdal ticket and in 1989 as Janata Dal nominee. In the elections held in 1993, 1996, 2002 and 2007, he won from Sohawal assembly seat as Samajwadi Party candidate.

He then won the 2012 and 2022 UP assembly elections from Milkipur (SC) assembly constituency.

According to Parasnath Yadav, the SP district president, Prasad began his political career when he was around 21-year-old. During the Emergency, he was jailed.

Prasad was a cabinet minister and minister of state in the governments headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav.

Faizabad Lok Sabha seat consists of five assembly segments of Dariyabad, Rudauli, Milkipur (SC), Bikapur and Ayodhya.

Of these assembly segments, Dariyabad is located in neighbouring Barabanki district, while the rest of the four assembly constituencies are in Ayodhya district.

Except Milkipur (SC) seat which is with the SP, the other four assembly segments were won by the BJP in 2022 state polls.

There are 13 candidates in the fray with the main battle being between BJP's Singh and SP's Prasad. The Bahujan Samaj Party has also fielded a candidate from the Faizabad constituency.

Samajwadi Party's candidate for Faizabad Awadhesh Prasad (left) and the BJP's incumbent MP Lallu Singh.
The importance of being Akhilesh Yadav in this Lok Sabha election

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com