Hectic behind the scene parleys were on in UP’s ruling Samajwadi Party today to finalise the list of candidates and complete alliance formalities with Congress, with the process of filing of nominations for the first phase of polling already underway.
In complete control of the party after the Election Commission settled the dispute over Samajwadi Party’s name and symbol in his favour, its new president and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was also in the process of revoking the expulsion of his loyalists ejected by his uncle and former state SP chief Shivpal Yadav.
“We are finalising the list of candidates. But at the same time we have to keep in mind the alliance with Congress. The final list will be out only after taking our ally into confidence,” a senior SP leader said.
He said Akhilesh was working on the candidates’ list keeping all the factors in mind.
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Akhilesh has also decided to take back youth leaders expelled by Shivpal and their expulsion will be revoked soon, he said speaking on condition of anonymity.
“We have a dream and determination to make Akhileshji CM of UP again with the blessings of ‘Netaji’ (Mulayam Singh Yadav),” MLC and Akhilesh loyalist Anand Bhaduaria, who was among those expelled by Shivpal, told PTI.
Asked about revocation of his expulsion and that of other leaders, he said, “It’s now a mere formality. Netaji had earlier agreed to it and asked us to work for the victory of SP,” he said, adding the party was fully prepared to defeat “communal forces” in the state.
Meanwhile, despite the apparent truce in Samajwadi Party, Lok Dal was still hopeful of getting Mulayam Singh Yadav by its side, saying it expects “some development” in the next two-three days.
“I have met Mulayam Singh Yadav, who has been humiliated by son Akhilesh, who took away the party from him and again offered him to use our party’s banner. He (Mulayam) is in a dilemma after being ditched by son,” Lok Dal national president Sunil Singh told PTI, adding, “it’s obviously a tough decision to leave his own party.”
The day began with ticket seekers thronging the residence of the Chief Minister braving the winter chill.
Senior minister Azam Khan, who had brought the warring factions of Samajwadi Party led by its patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh to the negotiating table before the dispute was settled in favour of the latter, met the Chief Minister at his 5, Kalidas Marg residence.
Expressing satisfaction over the EC’s decision, he said it was a “win-win” situation for him.
“Na neta gaye, na beta. Dono haath mein laddoo (neither neta – Mulayam – left the party nor his son – Akhilesh. It is a win-win situation for me),” he said.
On the other hand, there was not much activity in Mulayam camp.
Aditya Yadav, son of Shivpal, tweeted a poster showing Mulayam, Akhilesh and Shivpal with the caption that for the rapid development of the state, all should contribute.
According to party sources, a list of 38 candidates said to have been prepared by the Mulayam camp was unlikely to be approved by Akhilesh as he has reservations over several names.
In such a scenario, these candidates might contest under the banner of Lok Dal.
“Half of them will not be given tickets. Many SP leaders are in touch with me. I expect some development in next two- three days from their (Mulayam’s) side,” the Lok Dal chief said.
Lok Dal had earlier offered Mulayam its symbol to contest the Assembly polls amid apprehension that the Election Commission could freeze Samajwadi Party’s symbol ‘bicycle’ in view of the dispute between the two factions.
“I offer Lok Dal’s symbol and national president’s post to ‘Netaji’ and am ready to contest the polls with him,” Singh had said earlier.
Sunil, who also met Shivpal Yadav, said, “He is ready to be part of the Lok Dal if his brother (Mulayam) comes with us.”
The state will have a seven-phase poll beginning February 11 and filing of nomination papers for the first phase began on Monday.