New Delhi: The Samajwadi Party, or SP, has said it will field Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt from the Lucknow constituency in the general election due in April-May. Former prime minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee currently represents the city in Parliament.
Dutt’s candidature was announced by SP general secretary Amar Singh on Thursday. Singh said Dutt would contest the elections if he gets clearance from the courts as he is an accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.
The SP is an ally of the Congress party-led United Progressive Alliance, or UPA, government at the Centre. Dutt’s father, Sunil Dutt, was a Congress party member and was elected for five Lok Sabha terms from the Mumbai North-West constituency. Sanjay Dutt’s sister, Priya Dutt, was elected to the constituency on a Congress party ticket after their father’s death in 2005.
Early preparations: Sanjay Dutt in Srinagar after the Samajwadi Party announced that it would try and field him as a candidate. PTI
Addressing the media after SP’s parliamentary board meeting, Singh called upon the Centre to help the party secure legal clearance for Dutt.
Singh also announced the names of 27 other candidates for the Lok Sabha elections. These include party chief and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav (Mainpuri), his son Akhilesh Yadav (the Kannauj and Ferozabad seats simultaneously), MP and actor Jayaprada Mahata (Rampur) and Bhojpuri film actor Manoj Tiwari (Gorakhpur).
The SP, which had extended crucial support to the UPA during the 22 July trust vote, also threatened that it would review its backing if the government didn’t take tough action against terror camps in Pakistan.
“People of Pakistan are not our enemies. We are not asking to attack Pakistan... but India should attack the terror camps in Pakistan,” Singh said, adding, “If the government does not decide to take tough action in five days, our party will review its support after 14 January.”
Signalling a souring of ties, Singh also asked the Congress, which he alleged had poached its candidates in Madhya Pradesh during the recent assembly polls, to follow “coalition ‘dharma’”. He also charged the Congress with trying to woo its leader and former Karnataka chief minister S. Bangarappa into its fold.