Amid uncertainty over his decision to campaign for Akhilesh Yadav, Samajwadi Party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav was on Friday named as one of the star campaigners by Lok Dal.
Lok Dal named him at the top of its list of star campaigners amid the political flip-flop in the Yadav family as Mulayam announced that he would not campaign for Akhilesh and made a U-turn the very next day saying he would.
Mulayam was irked over Samajwadi Party’s alliance with Congress for Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections and had ventilated his anger over the tie-up by refusing to campaign claiming SP alone was capable enough to bag 300 of the 403 seats.
Lok Dal issued a list of 14 star campaigners in which Mulayam’s name is on the top followed by party national president Sunil Yadav.
Actor Rajpal Yadav and Markendey Deshpandey’s name are also there in the list.
“We are hopeful that ‘netaji’ (Mulayam) will campaign for our candidates. He was with our party and is a true samajwadi (socialist) and we are using his photograph in our campaign,” Lok Dal National Preisdent Sunil Singh said.
“A number of his followers are contesting on our ticket,” a senior Lok Dal leader said.
However, there was no confirmation from Mulayam Singh Yadav in this regard.
Lok Dal has already offered the embattled Samajwadi Party patriarch its symbol and national president’s post.
Singh said his party in EC’s records was a registered, unrecognised party that was formed by veteran socialist leader Charan Singh way back in 1980 and “netaji” was its founder member.
Lok Dal has the old election symbol of ‘farmer ploughing field (khet jotta kissan)’, on which Charan Singh had become the chief minister of UP.
In 2012 elections, Lok Dal had contested 76 of the 403 seats and though its candidate did not win any seat, the party received 5,000 to 15,000 votes in most of the constituencies.
In UP, which is having a seven-phase polling beginning February 11, Lok Dal has decided to contest some 300 seats this time and 25-30 nominees are likely to be sitting SP MLAs.