With the Bharatiya Janata Party deciding to field Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from his home turf Gorakhpur (Urban) assembly seat in the February polls, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Monday sought to woo the sitting BJP MLA Radha Mohan Aggarwal, offering him his party ticket for the seat.
Asked about BJP's Gorakhpur (Urban) MLA Aggarwal, the Samajwadi Party chief told reporters in Lucknow, "If you (reporters) can establish contact with him and speak to him, the ticket will be announced and he will get the ticket."
Yadav was speaking to reporters at his party headquarters in Lucknow on the occasion of 'Ann Sankalp Divas'.
Agarwal has been the MLA from Gorakhpur Urban seat since 2002.
"I remember the oath-taking ceremony of Chief Minister (Yogi Adityanath). I had seen Radha Mohan Agarwal on the occasion. He was not able to find a seat and had to keep standing. He has been insulted the most in the BJP government," Yadav said.
Contacted by PTI, Agrawal declined to comment on Akhilesh's offer.
When asked about the SP's offer, state BJP spokesperson Harish Chandra Shrivastava said, "Every member of the BJP is a disciplined soldier of the party and accepts whatever responsibility is given to him by the party."
"In Gorakhpur, CM Adityanath is the party candidate but even in places where other BJP candidates are in the fray, the SP does not have any strong candidate," said Shrivastava.
This is the reason for Akhilesh Yadav's frustration and uneasiness, he added.
On a question about BJP's disgruntled MLAs, Yadav had earlier asserted, "We cannot give seats to everyone. The BJP can distribute its tickets. We cannot take anyone (into the SP) now."
But, as soon as, Agarwal's name was mentioned, he said he would give him the ticket.
Dismissing speculation about his younger brother's wife Aparna Yadav joining the BJP, Akhilesh Yadav said, "The BJP is more concerned about my family than me. Are you asking the question after being inspired by the BJP?"
Aparna Yadav had contested the 2017 UP assembly elections on an SP ticket from Lucknow Cantonment but lost to BJP's Rita Bahuguna Joshi.
On a question on Azad Samaj Party chief Chandrashekhar Ravan, the SP chief said, "I had said the SP had given respect to the people of the alliance and had also sacrificed to cement the alliance. At this point of time, whatever sacrifices have to be made should be made."
"The SP is making sacrifices. As far as Chandrashekhar (Ravan) is concerned, I had given him seats. If he wants to help as a brother, he can do so," Yadav added.
"Chandrashekhar had initially accepted two seats, but he said later that his organisation could not agree on it. In this scenario why should the SP be blamed?" he asked.
"That is why I am saying people are hatching conspiracies. Do not level allegations if someone has said anything. Several conspiracies are being hatched for the UP elections and they will be hatched in future as well," Yadav said.
On January 15, the Azad Samaj Party had said, "We thought this is a new Samajwadi Party and there will be some change in it.
"We can speak about social justice. We wanted unity of the Bahujan and we were banking on him (Akhilesh Yadav) but yesterday we felt that our hopes have been shattered. I feel that Akhilesh ji does not need us. All the best to him. We will fight our own polls."
Uttar Pradesh goes to assembly polls in seven phases between February 10 and March 7.