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Former BSF jawan Tej Bahadur claims AAP's support


ANI Politics
Hours after the Samajwadi Party (SP) named him as its new candidate from Varanasi Lok Sabha seat, former BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav on Monday claimed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has also extended its support to him to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has also supported me," he told ANI.
AAP convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in a tweet, hailed SP chief Akhilesh Yadav's decision to field Yadav from Varanasi.
Earlier in the day, former UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav-led SP announced to replace its existing candidate Shalini Yadav with Tej Bahadur, who was dismissed from the Border Security Force (BSF) in 2017 for his video depicting the poor quality of food served to soldiers.
"Brave soldier Tej Bahadur has got the SP ticket from Varanasi," the party announced on its official Twitter handle.
Tej Bahadur was already in the fray as an independent candidate from Varanasi parliamentary constituency.
Yadav said: "I appeal to the people to distinguish between the real and fake 'Chowkidars (watchmen)."
Yadav has maintained that soldiers, farmers and the youth who are jobless will be on his agenda of election campaigning.
Questioning Prime Minister Modi government on job creation, he said: "Did they provide two crore jobs each year? Did the youth get jobs? Instead, four crore jobs were lost."
The former BSF constable compared Prime Minister Modi with Mughal emperor Aurangzeb for constructing Vishwanath Corridor, which allegedly led to the demolition of several ancient temples.
"Many ancient temples were razed in Varanasi. So far, we only heard of Aurangzeb but we saw Aurangzeb (an apparent reference to PM Modi) with our own eyes," he said.
Yadav had posted four videos on social media in January 2017, which showed him complaining about unpalatable food at his camp along the Indo-Pakistan border in Jammu and Kashmir.
Shalini Yadav, meanwhile, insisted that she was still the party's official party candidate.
She said: "I have filed nomination at the direction of national president. I am the official candidate of the party."
Shalini, who joined the SP some days back, refused to comment on Tej Bahadur's candidature and said that she would follow the order of the party leadership.
"I will not comment on the candidature of Tej Bahadur ji. I have and will follow the directions of the national president," she told media persons.
Varanasi seat was won by Prime Minister Modi in the last Lok Sabha elections. He had defeated AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal with a massive margin of 3.37 lakh votes.
The SP is contesting the Lok Sabha polls in alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in Uttar Pradesh.
As per the seat-sharing pact, the SP is contesting 37 Lok Sabha seats, while Mayawati-led BSP and Ajit Singh's RLD have been allocated 38 and three seats respectively.
The election in Varanasi is slated to take place in the last phase of seven-phased Lok Sabha elections on May 19. The counting of votes will begin on May 23.

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First Published: Apr 29 2019 | 9:05 PM IST

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