A day after the Election Commission allotted the Samajwadi Party’s bicycle symbol to Akhilesh Yadav, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister extended on Tuesday an olive branch to father Mulayam Singh amid a bruising feud in the state’s first family.
Akhilesh said he will issue a fresh list of candidates for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh election, shortly before Mulayam handed him a list of 38 candidates.
Mulayam’s picks included his brother Shivpal Singh Yadav’s son, Aditya, and sacked UP ministers such as Narad Rai and OP Singh.
Shivpal, who is involved in a bitter power tussle with Akhilesh and is believed to have Mulayam’s backing, does not figure in the list. Shivpal, however, had announced that he will not be in the fray.
In December, Mulayam announced candidates for 397 of the states 403 seats that saw many Akhilesh loyalists being ignored. For his part, Akhilesh released his own list of 290 contestants, intensifying the Yadav family’s power tussle. About 140 candidates were common in the two lists.
The CM’s camp staged a virtual coup on New Year’s Day, appointing Akhilesh the party’s national president in place of Mulayam.
“I will take netaji (Mulayam) along...my relation with him is unbreakable,” Akhilesh told reporters at his official 5 Kalidas Marg residence in Lucknow on Tuesday morning, sending out signals of a possible rapprochement.
Also, there is no talk in the Mulayam-Shivpal camp of fighting the polls separately --- under a new name and new symbol. Since the EC’s move, the 77-year-old Mulayam is said to be mulling over his next step.
Sources said party candidates for the first phase of polls, nominations for which started Monday, have been told to wait till January 23 before filing their nomination. The last date is January 24.
Akhilesh met his father twice in a span of 12 hours, apparently to pacify him and ensure that he does not pit himself against the official party candidates.
The SP. meanwhile, has forged an alliance with the Congress and any contest posed by Mulayam could have an adverse impact on its prospects.
(with agency inputs)