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Indian Soldier Sacked for Video on Food Quality Is SP’s candidate Against Modi

NEW DELHI: Tej Bahadur Yadav, a former Indian soldier of BSF, who was sacked for his video complaining about the food in 2017, will be the SP-BSP alliance candidate against Indian premier Narendra Modi from Varanasi.

The Samajwadi Party made the surprise announcement to replace Shalini Yadav on Monday, a week after naming her from the seat.

Manoj Rai Dhupchandi, the SP spokesperson said Shalini Yadav would be the party’s backup candidate. “In case the nomination of Tej Bahadur is rejected during scrutiny of papers, Shalini will be the alliance candidate,” he said.

PM Modi had won the seat in 2014 with a 56 percent share of the votes polled. Ajai Rai was a distant third with 7 percent votes; Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal was second with 20 percent votes.

Tej Bahadur Yadav had announced his decision to file his papers from Varanasi as an Independent last month.

He dumped this strategy on Tuesday when he agreed to become the nominee of Uttar Pradesh’s opposition alliance that comprises Mayawati’s BSP, Akhilesh Yadav’s SP and Ajit Singh’s RLD.

Tej Bahadur Yadav said he wasn’t in the contest “for victory or defeat” but “only to hold the mirror to PM Modi”.

But the Samajwadi Party hopes the former BSF soldier’s candidature would give the opposition alliance ammunition to counter the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s narrative around national security.

“I will tell the public that PM Modi who claims to be the well-wisher of the soldiers hasn’t fulfilled any of the promises he made to the soldiers,” said Tej Bahadur Yadav.

“I was sacked because I raised my voice against the poor quality of food and corruption,” the ex-BSF soldier said, showering praises on SP chief Akhilesh Yadav.

“I am the real chowkidar, who protected the boundaries of the nation for 21 years and raised voice against corruption. The term, chowkidar, doesn’t suit PM Modi,” Tej Bahadur, who originally hails from Haryana, said.