Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav will start campaigning in Uttar Pradesh from Tuesday, indicating that the state’s ruling party was finally putting its poll preparations on high gear after months of fractious infighting.
The 77-year-old also dismissed reports that there was simmering dissidence within the SP that is planning to come to power in India’s most-populous state for the second consecutive time. He also denied reports that tensions continued between his brother Shivpal Yadav, who he backed, and son Akhilesh Yadav.
“Shivpal isn’t upset, no one is upset. Akhilesh will be the chief minister. I will start campaigning from tomorrow,” he told ANI. The state goes to the polls in seven phases opening February 11.
The SP patriarch -- who usually leads the party’s campaign and is known for his keen understanding of the state’s political terrain -- has kept away from poll preparations after Akhilesh displaced him as party chief last month.
Mulayam is also miffed with his son for stitching together an alliance with the Congress and has refused to campaign for alliance candidates. The senior Yadav commands long-standing loyalties in the UP hinterland, especially among the Yadav and Muslim communities.
The comment also comes days after Shivpal indicated he would start his own party after the polls; many of his supporters have been sidelined by Akhilesh who gained control of the party after the election commission ruled in his favour.