Akhilesh Yadav won’t be the face of Samajwadi Party’s UP election campaign

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav declines to name his son as the chief ministerial candidate in the Uttar Pradesh elections

Meenal Thakur
Updated26 Oct 2016, 04:28 AM IST
The decision about the next chief minister will be taken by Samajwadi Party legislators as it was done in 2012, Mulayam said at a press conference in Lucknow on Tuesday. Photo: HT
The decision about the next chief minister will be taken by Samajwadi Party legislators as it was done in 2012, Mulayam said at a press conference in Lucknow on Tuesday. Photo: HT

New Delhi: The rift within the Samajwadi Party may have widened after party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Tuesday declined to name his son, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, as the face of the ruling party campaign for the assembly polls.

“Samajwadi Party is a democratic party. Our first aim is to win with a majority and I have full faith in the people to support us. The decision of the next chief minister will be taken by the party legislators as it was done in 2012,” he said.

At the same time, Mulayam Singh Yadav sought to brush aside the differences in the Yadav clan.

“The family is one and the party is one. All the leaders as well workers of the party are also one. There are some conspirators, who do not have any mass base,” said the party chief at a press conference in Lucknow.

With the differences unresolved, the Samajwadi Party will approach the election, which is less than six months away, as a divided unit.

In fact, the public spat in the family has already delayed the Samajwadi Party’s campaign, even as its principal rivals the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are already into their stride.

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The press conference was held after a meeting between Mulayam Singh Yadav and his warring brother and party’s state unit president Shivpal Yadav and son Akhilesh Yadav.

Though Shivpal Yadav shared the dais with Mulayam Singh during the press conference, Akhilesh Yadav’s conspicuous absence renewed concern that the family rift was far from resolved.

A meeting called to broker peace between Shivpal and Akhilesh on Monday ended in an acrimonious public exchange between the two warring Yadavs.

On the re-induction of Shivpal Yadav along with three other ministers to the state cabinet after they were sacked by the chief minister on Sunday, Mulayam Singh Yadav said, “This decision will be taken by the chief minister. I leave it to him.”

The party supremo also continued to back the party’s national general secretary Amar Singh, who has been blamed by Akhilesh Yadav for fuelling the family feud.

“My entire life is devoted for the welfare of the people and he (Amar Singh) will continue to work for them. Don’t drag him into this fight,” he said.

Analysts say Mulayam Singh’s remarks suggest that it has become difficult for him to choose between his son and brother.

“Mulayam Singh’s argument that there is unity in the party and the family has no meaning. He cannot ask Akhilesh Yadav to step down as it will not be feasible for the party ahead of the assembly election,” said A.K. Verma, political analyst and director of the Kanpur-based Centre for the Study of Society and Politics (CSSP).

“The chief minister’s focus on development coupled with hiring a separate campaign team headed by a professor from Harvard University shows that he has decided to take a different course of action. This development-led approach along with the SP’s core ideology of socialism has made Akhilesh extremely popular among people and the party cannot afford to lose him,” he added.

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First Published:26 Oct 2016, 04:28 AM IST
HomePoliticsPolicyAkhilesh Yadav won’t be the face of Samajwadi Party’s UP election campaign

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