The ongoing feud in Uttar Pradesh’s first family seems to be witnessing a gradual tilt in favour of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Akhilesh’s uncle Ramgopal Yadav, who is the national general secretary of the Samajwadi Party (SP), on Monday said he would have the last word on ticket distribution for the Uttar Pradesh polls. Party leaders have attached considerable significance to the development, stating that this may pave the way for the chief minister to dictate ticket distribution for the UP polls despite not being the party state president.
But can Ramgopal decide on ticket distribution, given that he’s not the SP state president either? The answer lay hidden in his statement, which went: “The tickets are finalised by the member secretary of the (parliamentary) board, which I am.”
“Going by what Ramgopal said, we understand that he will take the final call on ticket distribution in consultation with the chief minister,” a senior SP leader said.
Party spokesperson Juhie Singh agreed. “Technically, Ramgopal is correct. Being the one who allots the party symbol, he has the right to give the ticket to anyone. This means the chief minister will have a say through Ramgopal. The way the picture is emerging, I think there will be considerable give-and-take, and candidates will be finalised on the basis of a consensus (between Mulayam, Akhilesh and Shivpal),” said Singh.
In 2012, Ramgopal ensured that Akhilesh was named chief minister. Known as the party’s primary strategist, he has stood by the chief minister on a host of issues – ranging from the influence of “outsiders” in the party to ticket distribution – since then.
Things soured on October 23, when the party expelled him for covert rebellion against SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and overt support to Akhilesh. “You will be responsible for the poll debacle of this party, which you built through so much struggle,” he had warned Mulayam then. Later, the party revoked Ramgopal’s expulsion and restored his powers in the party’s organisational structure.
In the present scenario, both Akhilesh and state SP president Shivpal Yadav want to be put in charge of ticket allocation. The chief minister has publicly sought a say in ticket distribution because he happens to be the one seeking a second term. “It is I who will be held accountable,” he said.
Akhilesh had objected to the candidature of Amanmani Tripathi, a murder accused who was given a ticket from Nautanwa seat by Shivpal. Akhilesh’s stand was vindicated last week, when CBI investigators arrested Tripathi. Shivpal eventually said the party might reconsider his candidature.