New Delhi: Poorvanchal (Eastern Uttar Pradesh) has turned into a battleground for 2014. The Samajwadi Party has announced the candidature of its chief Mulayam Singh Yadav from Azamgarh to counter the Narendra Modi effect. Not far behind is the Aam Aadmi Party that is also set to enter the fray as its rally in Varanasi will be held on March 25.
The battle for Poorvanchal has all the elements of a political pot boiler. Just over 100 kilometre from where BJP's Narendra Modi vs AAP's Arvind Kejriwal could become the most watched battle for 2014, enters Mulayam Singh in the fray. The SP chief has decided to contest from two seats this time around, one from his traditional constituency in West UP and the other from Azamgarh in Poorvanchal.
On the backfoot after the Muzaffarnagar riots, the SP feels Mulayam moving east could rejuvenate the party cadre and may shore up his projection vis-a-vis BJP's PM candidate to make it a Modi vs Mulayam fight.
This even as the AAP is all to keen to make Varanasi a Modi vs Kejriwal fight. The AAP leader is also building up his campaign to take on Modi and his rally to seek opinion on the issue has now been postponed to March 25. "There were some law and order issues on 23rd. So we are now conducting the rally on 25th March," said AAP leader Sanjay Singh.
For all major political players in UP, Poorvanchal with 32 seats is politically significant. The BJP in 2009 managed to win just four seats in this belt bordering Bihar and for the party to do well in these Lok Sabha elections, it needs to do really well to get within the striking distance of the half-way mark.