In what could be a signal that the feud within the Samajwadi Party is far from over, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday announced that he would start his election campaign by taking out a statewide rally on November 3. This would effectively rule out his presence in the Samajwadi Party’s silver jubilee celebrations scheduled two days later.
Akhilesh’s father and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav is learnt to be very enthusiastic about the silver jubilee event. Mulayam has announced that the event will be organised at Janeshwar Mishra park in Lucknow. Gayatri Prajapati, the minister sacked by Akhilesh and later reinstated under pressure from Mulayam, has been made convener of the event.
While state SP spokesperson Mohammad Shahid said Akhilesh will attend the silver jubilee celebrations, a senior party leader considered close to the chief minister ruled out the possibility. “He will be on a very tight schedule, and is unlikely to attend the party’s silver jubilee celebrations,” the leader said.
The development comes two days after the SP clarified that Akhilesh will be the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the Assembly polls due early next year. The announcement came after a long turf war between Akhilesh and his uncle and Mulayam confidant Shivpal Yadav.
In a missive to Mulayam on the CM’s letterhead, Akhilesh on Wednesday wrote that all other political parties have started the election campaign, and given the fact that the polls are drawing closer he, too, will start the ‘Vikas-se-vijay-ki-ore (from development to victory) rally from Lucknow on November 3. Although he had earlier planned the yatra from October 3, it could not be done due to “some reasons”, Akhilesh stated. The party was in the middle of a crisis at the time due to differences between the chief minister and Shivpal.
Copies of the letter were marked to SP national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav and state SP president Shivpal Yadav. Akhilesh wrote that the programme of the yatra will be sent to SP district presidents and party workers from time to time.
Akhilesh is likely to be the lone face in the rath yatra as the SP state unit is yet to hold any meeting on the campaign. “Youth leaders loyal to Akhilesh, who had been expelled from the party a few weeks ago, are likely to look after management of the rally,” a party leader said.