The suspense continues. Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday met governor BL Joshi informally to stake claim to form the government in Uttar Pradesh without having resolved internal differences over chief ministership.
Mulayam met the governor with son and state party president Akhilesh Yadav and a party office-bearer. His cousin Shivpal Singh Yadav, who is said to be pushing for Mulayam — not Akhilesh — as CM, was conspicuously absent from the meeting. Shivpal had in his capacity as leader of the Opposition in the assembly always been part of SP delegations meeting the governor.
The SP leaders told the governor they would inform him about the name of the legislature party leader and the date of the swearing-in after the meeting of party MLAs, fixed for Saturday.
Earlier through the day, Mulayam remained closeted with senior party leaders discussing who would be CM after the landslide victory, which fetched the SP 224 of the state's 403 assembly seats.
The party's parliamentary board that met earlier in the day could not decide who would run the state. The buzz was that though Mulayam wanted to reward his son and state party president Akhilesh with the coveted post in deference to the strong sentiment in the party, he faced opposition from some quarters.
The absence of senior leader Mohd Azam Khan from Lucknow fuelled speculation about his disapproval of Akhilesh as CM. Khan's mobile was switched off the whole day.
Mulayam's cousin and Rajya Sabha member Ram Gopal Yadav, the prime mover of the Akhiklesh-for-CM campaign in the party told mediapersons, "Akhilesh is the shining star of the SP's victory and has all the qualities of a chief minister."
But Akhilesh was quick to contradict this, saying, "Netaji (Mulayam) will be CM."
Senior party leader Naresh Agarwal, who crossed over from the BSP to the SP some months before the elections, said most of the newly elected MLAs want Akhilesh to be chief minister.
However, Dharmendra Yadav, Mulayam's nephew and parliamentary board member, said Mulayam would be CM and that Akhilesh's name did not even come up for discussion.