Latest entrant is former BSP MP Rakesh Pandey, father of the party’s sitting MP Ritesh Pandey
Former BSP MP Rakesh Pandey joined the Samajwadi Party on Monday, as the party continued to attract leaders of the influential Brahmin community into its fold ahead of the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election.
The development came a day after SP president Akhilesh Yadav, in a symbolic gesture towards the community, offered traditional Hindu prayers at the temple of Lord Parshuram built by one of his party’s Brahmin leaders in Gosaiganj area of the State capital.
Mr. Yadav offered puja and performed arti at the temple located in Mahurakala village near the Purvanchal Expressway, amid chanting of Vedic mantras by priests called from Ayodhya, Mathura, Varanasi and Prayagraj. Chants of ‘Jai Jai Parshuram’ resonated at the venue. Mr. Yadav later even tweeted the chant.
Hoardings at the venue sought to establish Mr. Yadav as the preferred choice of the Brahmins for the Chief Minister’s post — “Brahman ka sankalp, Akhilesh hi vikalp (The Brahmins have resolved, Akhilesh is the alternative),” said the hoardings.
A bronze idol of axe-wielding Lord Parshuram weighing 7.5 quintal, made by artisans from Jaipur, was installed and unveiled at the temple, said an SP spokesperson.
“People of the Brahmin community are the biggest socialists and are justice-loving people. The Brahmin community will take U.P. on the path to socialism,” Mr. Yadav told journalists at the event, where several top Brahmin leaders of the SP, including new entrants, converged in a show of strength.
Mr. Yadav also said that if the SP was voted to power, his government would honour all the avatars of Lord Vishnu by building a museum or a temple.
Former BSP MP Rajesh Pandey, who was inducted into the SP, is the father of Ritesh Pandey, current BSP MP from Ambedkar Nagar in East U.P. Other Brahmin leaders from Purvanchal, including BJP MLA from Sant Kabir Nagar, Digvijay Narain Chaubey; BSP MLA from Gorakhpur, Vinay Shankar Tiwari; and his brother, former BSP MP from Sant Kabir Nagar, Bheesma Shankar Tiwari, had recently joined the SP.