With the last phase of Uttar Pradesh polls scheduled for March 3,the Samajwadi Party leadership on Friday indicated that it was seriously considering Akhilesh Yadav as its chief ministerial candidate.
Senior SP leader and member of the partys apex decision-making body,central parliamentary board,Ram Gopal Yadav said that state unit chief Akhilesh could be the partys choice for CMs post. If the legislature party chooses Akhilesh,he will become the CM. I would personally be very happy if Akhilesh is given the position of CM when the SP forms the government. I feel Akhilesh has put in a lot of hard work into the partys election campaign. His efforts gave us the critical edge over rival parties ahead of the announcement of elections. He has sustained that edge during the election campaign by his hectic tour of UP and he must be rewarded for it, Ram Gopal said.
His statement holds significance,as this is the first time that any member of partys top leadership has projected Akhilesh as the CM candidate even as party chief and three-time CM Mulayam Singh Yadav has maintained an ambiguity on the question. In fact,most party leaders have said Mulayam would be partys natural choice for the post. Even Akhilesh has said Mulayam will be the CM in case SP forms the government.
However,Ram Gopals remarks is fraught with risks given the fact that BSP has put up a spirited fight and Rahul Gandhi has led a high-voltage campaign.