IN remarks that could be seen as another setback for Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, his father and Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav Friday said the legislators elected after the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls will decide party’s chief ministerial candidate.
“After the polls, the elected legislators and the parliamentary board will meet and decide the CM candidate without any controversy,” Mulayam said here.
He was replying to queries on whether Akhilesh Yadav was still the SP’s CM candidate for the upcoming polls. Asked if Akhilesh was not in fray for CM’s post, Mulayam said: “Humse na baat keejiyee. Ye aapka kaam nahi hai. Ye humara kaam hai, humari party ka parliamentary board ka kaam hai. Jab bahumat aa jaye humara, tab puchhiye (Don’t ask me about this. This is not your (media’s) job. This is a job for me and our party’s parliamentary board. Ask about it after we have gained majority).”
The remarks come days after Akhilesh was removed from the party state president post owing to an apparent feud in the family, which had started after the CM dismissed two ministers close to his uncle and senior party leader Shivpal Yadav. On Wednesday, Akhilesh had left an event after paying tributes to party ideologue Ram Manohar Lohia on his death anniversary, before Mulayam and Shivpal reached there.
Mulayam, however, reiterated that there was no rift in the family. “There has not been any dispute in the family for the last three generations. How can there be so now? Shivpal had met him (Akhilesh) this morning,” he said.
The SP chief also dismissed questions about leaders close to Akhilesh deciding to sit at the newly-opened office of the Janeshwar Mishra Trust. He also did not reply when asked if the party would re-induct the expelled youth leaders, most of whom are considered close to Akhilesh, and said it was an “unnecessary question”.
He also parried a question on Akhilesh announcing that he will soon start the poll campaign alone, and said everyone knows that it was he who made his son the CM in 2012. “The votes were sought in my name…I wanted to work freely for the people. In three terms as CM and union minister, I had become a pen pusher,” he said, adding, “Kise kahan baithana hai, hum khud tai karenge (I will decide whom to place where)”.
He also clarified that SP will have no alliance in coming elections and claimed that the party had gained strength only when it went alone. Mulayam said that when he founded the SP, the press had termed him “a leader of three districts”, but he formed the government in the state in the next 11 months.
“The party formed the government four times in the state. Once I was defence minister at Centre. I played an important role in the formation of the Union government. I was the one who proposed the name of Deve Gowda as PM after Jyoti Basu declined to be the PM. Basu, in turn, proposed my name. But you all know who opposed that. Now he is my relative,” he said in an apparent reference to RJD chief Lalu Prasad, whose daughter is married to Mulayam’s grand-nephew.
Saying that he had brought Pakistan’s “morale down” as defence minister, Mulayam, in an apparent reference to recent surgical strikes by Army in PoK, said that “people must have remembered that” after the “recent incidents”. “When they asked me, I told them what I had done. They also succeeded,” he said, without elaborating.