In a last minute change, the Samajwadi Party has replaced its candidate from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh to fight against PM Narendra Modi. It is now fielding former BSF Jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav. It had earlier given the ticket to Shalini Yadav.
The fielding of Yadav raises the questions whether the move is purely symbolism or there is much more to it.
The ex-BSF jawan, a native of Rewari in Haryana, had posted a video online about five months back, complaining about poor quality food being served to the troops on the icy heights along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.
He was dismissed by a Summary Security Force Court (SSFC) in 2017 where he was tried on two counts -- of making "false allegations" on social media regarding the quality of food and carrying two mobile phones while on operational duty. BSF spokesperson had alleged that constable Yadav did not obey a general order of the force and carried two mobile phones while on operational duty which was against the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). Yadav also posted photographs in uniform on social media in contravention of instructions, the spokesman had said.
Earlier, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had said she would fight against PM Modi in only to back out from the race, as Congress fielded Ajay Rai a day ahead of PM Narendra Modi's mega roadshow in Varanasi.
PM Narendra Modi's seven-kilometre roadshow in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday had seen a massive turnout of people. The huge support raised the question whether the 2019 Lok Sabha elections is seeing a Modi wave, a phenomena which was witnessed in 2014.
PM Modi had carried out a 7-km mega roadshow on April 25, ahead of filing his nomination papers for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat April 26. The roadshow began from the Madan Mohan Malviya statue at 3 pm and ended at the Dashashwamedha Ghat, following which the Prime Minister participated in the Ganga Aarti.