HOURS AFTER he told the Election Commission that he was still the national president of the Samajwadi Party (SP), Mulayam Singh Yadav signalled a softening of stand on Monday evening as he claimed that the party was “united” and Akhilesh Yadav would be the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister after the elections.
“For the benefit of the entire state, our party stands united. There is no question of division whatsoever. We will begin the campaign soon. Akhilesh will be the next chief minister, there is no doubt about that,” ANI quoted Mulayam as saying on his return from Delhi to Lucknow.
WATCH VIDEO | Mulayam Singh Yadav Announces Akhilesh As CM Candidate For Samajwadi Party
Mulayam had earlier refrained from naming Akhilesh as the SP’s chief ministerial candidate, maintaining that the party’s MLAs would elect their leader.
Speaking to mediapersons in the Capital earlier in the day, Mulayam claimed that there were “no differences” between him and Akhilesh. In an apparent reference to Ram Gopal Yadav, Mulayam said “one person has influenced” Akhilesh, which has led to “problems in the party”.
Mulayam’s comments are being seen as an attempt to resolve the factional feud, which has led to uncertainty among the party’s likely candidates and workers ahead of the assembly polls.
Both the camps met the Election Commission in Delhi today to stake claim to the “cycle” symbol.
Mulayam, accompanied by Amar Singh and Shivpal Singh, told the EC that the party convention called by the Akhilesh camp on January 1 was “unconstitutional” as Ram Gopal, who convened the meet, had been expelled from the party on December 30.
Though the Mulayam camp did not submit any fresh documents, they claimed that he was still the SP chief and had legal claim over the party and its symbol. “I will sign Form A and B (relating to party affiliation and party symbol for contesting candidates). Now EC has to decide on the cycle symbol,” said Mulayam.
Mulayam also sent a letter to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari urging him to derecognise Ram Gopal as the SP’s leader in the House, following his expulsion from the party. He asked Ansari to shift Ram Gopal’s seat to the back benches.
Sources in the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, however, ruled out any immediate action on the issue.
Meanwhile, Ram Gopal urged the Election Commission to take an early decision on the party symbol as the nomination process for the assembly elections will begin from January 17. Ram Gopal was accompanied by party MPs Naresh Agarwal and Neeraj Shekhar.
Mulayam also contested the affidavits of party leaders submitted by the Akhilesh camp, alleging that they were forged, and asked the EC to get them verified.