The Azamgarh parliamentary constituency in eastern Uttar Pradesh is considered somewhat of a Samajwadi Party bastion though that hasn’t always been the case, and saw the party’s chief, Akhilesh Yadav, taking on actor-turned-politician Dinesh Lal Yadav 'Nirahua' who contested on a BJP ticket.
The challenge of defeating Akhilesh Yadav in his fortress turned out to be a step too far for Nirahua who lost by a little over 2.5 lakh votes despite the actor polling a fairly hefty tally. While the SP chief won over 6.1 lakh votes, the BJP pretender's share stopped at a little over 3.54 lakh with the nect challenger, Anil Singh of the Rashtriya Ulama Council getting just 6698 votes in all.
In the exit polls, as per projections by Jan Ki Baat: Akhilesh Yadav was predicted to win from Azamgarh as it is the bastion of the Samajwadi party.
Nirahua had been giving a tough fight to Akhilesh Yadav in the constituency, and at various points during the campaign said that he felt he was getting a good response from the people. The Azamgarh seat was earlier held by SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav who contested from the Mainpur seat this time around. In 2014, Mulayam Singh had won the seat against BJP's Ramakant Yadav who recently jumped the boat from BJP to Congress.
The SP patron’s win, by a margin of 63,204 votes, was one of the handful that the party managed in the face of the Modi wave across Uttar Pradesh as the BJP won 73 seats out of 80. The SP president's decision to contest from his father's bastion was also touted as a move to consolidate the Yadav, Dalit and Muslim voters in the Purvanchal region of Uttar Pradesh.
The constituency has a substantial population of Yadavs, Jatavs, and Muslims -- the three communities which form the crux of the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance in the politically crucial state.