There are enough indications that the Samajwadi Party's young leader Akhilesh Yadav will be the next chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
Akhilesh Yadav, general secretary of Samajwadi Party has been chosen as the chief minister for Uttar Pradesh by the Samajwadi Party. AP/Rajesh Kumar Singh
Though party leaders maintained silence on the contentious issue of chief ministership, it was Akhilesh who gave the first indication. Till now
Akhilesh had said 'Netaji' (Mulayam Singh Yadav) would be the new CM.
But asked again by mediapersons on Friday, he said the party's MLAs and MPs would elect the CM on Saturday.
He added in a lighter vein, "But I know you will find out from your own sources."
As people credit him with the SP's spectacular victory in the recently concluded assembly elections, voices demanding the state party president's elevation as CM have been growing louder by the day.
Party sources indicated that Mulayam wants the chorus to get louder as he prefers a democratic decision.
Early on Friday night, SP founder member Azam Khan met Mulayam at the latter's residence, where the party supreme convinced him not only to support Akhilesh's name as CM but also propose it at the meeting of the SP's legislature party on Saturday.
Khan, who kept away from Lucknow after the party's landslide victory on Tuesday, reached the state capital on Friday but did not visit the party office.
He refused to comment on whom he would support for chief ministership, saying he would speak to the press after the meeting of the state legislature party.
Mulayam's cousin and former leader of the opposition in the assembly Shivpal Singh Yadav, who reportedly opposed Akhilesh becoming CM at Wednesday's SP parliamentary board meeting, was also being persuaded by Mulayam to change his stand.
At 38, Akhilesh is poised to become UP's youngest chief minister. Till now Mayawati was the youngest, having taken over the reins of the state for the first time in 1993 at the age of 39.