Akhilesh Yadav shuns Mulayam offer, won’t give up Samajwadi Party president post
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav would not step down as the Samajwadi Party president, at least not till the election was over, sources said, dealing another blow to hopes of reconciliation in the faction-riddled party.Updated: Jan 11, 2017 01:10 IST
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav would not step down as the Samajwadi Party president, at least not till the election was over, sources said, dealing another blow to hopes of reconciliation in the faction-riddled party.
Akhilesh conveyed the decision to his father and party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, during a meeting on Tuesday morning, nine days after he staged a coup to take control of the party from his father.
Mulayam had extended an olive branch to his son on Monday night when he told media that Akhilesh would be the party’s chief ministerial candidate.
It was a climb down from his earlier statement when he told media the party would go into polls without a CM candidate, a public snub to Akhilesh.
But, a lot has changed since.
After a show of strength, Akhilesh on January 1 got himself elected the SP president at an emergency party convention, which Mulayam claims was illegal.
And, Akhilesh is talking from a position of strength.
According to sources, he also turned down Mulayam’s offer that both the factions withdraw applications submitted to the election commission, staking claim to the party symbol – a bicycle.
Mulayam, said sources, was ready to give Akhilesh a free hand in deciding poll candidates, a big reason for chief minister’s running feud with his uncle Shivpal Yadav that is tearing the party apart.
While Mulayam agreed to keep Shivpal, his younger brother, and Amar Singh out of the election, he was firm on not accepting the Akhilesh faction’s decision to throw Singh out of the party.
Mulayam told Akhilesh while he would stay on as the party chief, the chief minister would get all the powers enjoyed by party general secretary Ramgopal Yadav. The offer was read as an attempt to distance Akhilesh from Ramgopal, who has stood by him in the family feud.
But, Akhilesh remained firm on keeping the president’s position till the election was over. Akhilesh wanted control of the party to prevent Shivpal and Amar Singh, who enjoy Mulayam’s confidence, from creating a “mischief” in the run-up to the polls, sources said.
Shivpal was sacked as the UP party chief and Singh was thrown out of the party during the January 1 convention.
After the meeting, Akhilesh went straight to his official residence where several MLAs, MLCs and candidates were waiting.
“Go to your constituencies and prepare for polls. There is no uncertainty over your tickets, you all have tickets already. I will make public my election campaign programme soon,” sources quoted Akhilesh as saying.
Voting for 403-member Uttar Pradesh assembly will be held in seven phases, beginning February 11. The last date of polling is March 8 and the result will be declared three days later.
The ruling party is expected to face a tough fight from the BJP, Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress.
First Published: Jan 11, 2017 00:21 IST