Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and his ‘faction’ of the Samajwadi Party (SP) are not showing any indication of conceding “even an inch of ground” on contentious issues and are going ahead with their election preparation and refurbishing the party’s district and the state unit. This despite the fact that his senior minister Azam Khan has been trying for two days to ‘save’ the party going two different ways.
As of now, it appears that both the factions will go to the polls.
Akhilesh on Wednesday evening summoned a meeting of all lawmakers (MLAs, MLCs, MPs) and candidates and top office-bearers of the party for Thursday morning. It was not immediately known if this meeting will be held at his official residence, the state headquarters of the party, or the Janeshwar Misra Trust, his war room.
Meanwhile, the Akhilesh- appointed state party president, Naresh Uttam, revoked the changes made in four district units by Shivpal Yadav, the state president of the original party. There are at least 195 candidates in Shivpal’s list who are in Akhilesh’s camp.
Akhilesh at an event on Wednesday indicated that he was the inheritor of the party and the symbol. Team Akhilesh, which now has at least 210 MLAs, over a dozen MPs (Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha), and some top brains in the party, wants Akhilesh as the party’s national president, as the chief ministerial face, and his full right in selection of candidates.
Kiranmoy Nanda, the vice president of the party, said: “We will go to the polls under Akhilesh ji’s leadership. He is our face.”
Ayodhya MLA Pawan Pandey added: “We will win with the chief minister (Akhilesh) as our chief ministerial face. I am contesting elections. So is everyone else.”
Dikshit backs SP tie-up
Former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday said she favours a pre-poll alliance with the Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh, and that she was ready to step aside as the CM candidate of the Congress. “I am in favour of an alliance with the SP. I am ready to withdraw from contention as CM candidate if there is an alliance,” Dikshit told the media in Delhi. “Akhilesh Yadav is a much better chief ministerial candidate than me. Would be happy to step aside for him,” she added.
(With agency inputs)