Lucknow | Jagran Politics Desk: In what could be a U-turn, Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has decided to contest the upcoming assembly elections in the state.

"I will contest elections after taking permission from the Azamgarh people," Akhilesh was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Last year, Akhilesh, who is the Lok Sabha MP from Azamgarh, had announced that he might not contest the polls but expressed confidence that his party will return to power in Uttar Pradesh.

However, media reports suggest that Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) decision to field incumbent Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from Gorakhpur might have forced Akhilesh to change his decision and contest the Uttar Pradesh elections.

The polling for the 403-member legislative assembly in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases - February 10, 14, 20, 23, 27, and March 3 and 7 while the results would be declared by the election commission of India (ECI) on March 10.

In the previous elections in 2017, the BJP had swept the polls, winning more than 300 seats. The Samajwadi Party had performed miserably and had managed to win just 47 seats. Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress, on the other hand, were disseminated. The two parties won just 19 and seven seats respectively.

However, this year, the Samajwadi Party remains confident that it will the elections and overthrow the BJP in the state. Speaking about BJP leaders joinning the Samajwadi Party, Akhilesh has said that the saffron party members are feeling uneasy over the party's sure defeat in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.

"The top BJP leadership is feeling uneasy seeing its defeat in the upcoming assembly polls. This is the reason every week some of its leaders are rushing to the state. The more they fear the prospect of the BJP defeat, the more BJP leaders will visit UP," Akhilesh said, as reported by news agency PTI.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma