Upset with his father Mulayam Singh Yadav’s list of SP candidates for the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, in an act of defiance, put out his own list of candidates late Thursday, including many who did not figure in the list issued by the party chief a day earlier. A minister said they would be contesting “in the name of and as the face of Akhilesh”.
Soon after he met his father and uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav with whom he has struggled for control of the party, Akhilesh held a separate meeting with SP leaders left out of the list released Wednesday — Mulayam Singh had named candidates for 325 of the 403 assembly seats.
WATCH VIDEO | Find Out What UP CM Akhilesh Yadav Did After SP Chief Mulayam Singh Released Poll List
Hours later, Akhilesh put out a list of 235 candidates, his loyalists replacing those on his father’s list. His list includes the names of 171 sitting MLAs and 64 others for seats where the SP lost in the 2012 elections. According to a note released to the media — it carried no signature — Akhilesh would be declaring the remaining 168 candidates very soon.
The Akhilesh list prompted uncle Shivpal to release names of another 68 candidates.
Earlier in the day, SP sources had indicated that Akhilesh was trying to get Mulayam Singh to make changes to the Wednesday list, failing which he would put out a parallel list of candidates.
Emerging from the meeting with the Chief Minister, Forest Minister and Ayodhya MLA Tej Narain Pandey aka Pawan Pandey, denied a poll ticket by Mulayam Singh but granted one by Akhilesh, told reporters: “Kshetra mein jayenge, jeet ke aayenge. Akhileshji ko CM banana hai (We will go to the constituencies, and win to make Akhilesh CM again).”
Pandey said he would be touring his constituency — the ticket for the Ayodhya seat had been handed to his cousin Ashish Pandey by Mulayam Singh — “in the name of and as the face of Akhilesh”.
Others present at the meeting at the Chief Minister’s residence included ministers Arvind Singh Gope and Ram Govind Chaudhary and 46 MLAs denied tickets by Mulayam Singh — all made it to the Akhilesh list later.
Tanda MLA Azimul Haque Pehalwan said: “The Chief Minister has asked all MLAs to contest elections. He has assured us that a list with names of all sitting MLAs will be released soon.” The list, Pehalwan said, did not matter because he would contest the election in any case. Mulayam Singh had handed the Tanda ticket to Hazi Istkhat Ahmed Ansari.
Mehnagar MLA Brijlal Sonkar, replaced by Kalpnath Paswan in the Mulayam Singh list, said: “If the CM is sending us to our constituencies, then definitely he has something in mind for us.”
SP youth leader and Akhilesh loyalist Atul Pradhan — whose candidature was recommended by the Chief Minister for the Sardhana seat in Meerut — said: “I will contest the election. The CM has asked all present at the meeting to contest elections. The CM will release a list of candidates.”
Several SP workers raised slogans in support of Akhilesh after gathering outside his residence and that of Mulayam Singh Yadav. MLAs and leaders, counting on Akhilesh for poll tickets, reached his residence at 10 am. The Chief Minister told them he was going to meet Mulayam Singh and would take up their case.
Akhilesh reached his father’s house at 1 pm. An hour later, Shivpal Singh Yadav — the CM and his uncle have been in a tussle for control of the party — too turned up. That meeting went on until 3 pm. Thereafter, Shivpal and Akhilesh left, without speaking to reporters waiting outside. Akhilesh headed home and held talks with his loyalists until 5 pm.