A list of nine persons sent by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to Governor Ram Naik on Wednesday for approval to be nominated as MLCs have one thing in common. The names recommended are all considered close to SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, his brother and Cabinet minister Shivpal Yadav and state minister Azam Khan. They, however, have no association with Akhilesh.
Sources in SP said in the three-year tenure of the government, 27 MLCs — including the latest nine — were named for Rajya Sabha by the party but those proposed by Akhilesh have not made it to any of the lists. This comes even as recommendations of Jama Masjid Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari and Maulana Arshad Madani have received approval of the top SP leadership.
After the SP government came to power in 2012, the first biennial MLC polls were held in April the same year. Eight SP candidates were elected, including Akhilesh. Others included Mulayam loyalist Ambika Choudhary, Naresh Uttam – considered close to the SP chief and projected as a Kurmi leader – and party old-timers like Dr Madhu Gupta and Rajendra Choudhary.
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Ram Sakal Gurjar of Agra, who eventually became a minister, too, was elected due to strong backing from Mulayam. Imam Bukhari also got his son-in-law Umar Ali elected despite losing the Assembly polls from Behat in Saharanpur. Vijay Yadav of Varanasi got the post due to his father Ram Karan Yadav’s loyalty towards Mulayam.
A few months later, another Mulayam loyalist, Bukkal Nawab got elected in MLC bypoll held after Mayawati resigned and went to Rajya Sabha. The same year, Banwari Singh Yadav of Badaun – also close to Mulayam – was sent to the Rajya Sabha after BSP’s Mangal Singh Saini died.
In the next list for council in January 2015, old-timer Ahmed Hasan, Azam Khan’s supporter Dr Sarojini Aggrawal, Maulana Arshad Madani’s recommended candidate Ashu Malik and Ramesh Yadav of Etah became MLCs. Mulayam also brought two leaders from western UP — Virendra Singh, a Gurjar from Shamli and Sahib Singh Saini from Saharanpur — to balance the equation after Muzaffarnagar riots.
Another leader, Ashok Bajpayee of Hardoi, was compensated after being denied a Lok Sabha ticket from Lucknow. The eighth seat went to Ram Jatan Rajbhar of Azamgarh.
While the latest list of nine persons has no names that can be considered close to Akhilesh, it includes Lucknow-based builder Sanjay Seth – reportedly close to Mulayam’s son from second wife, Prateek Yadav. Jitendra Yadav, father-in-law of RLD chief Lalu Prasad’s daughter Ragini, is also there in the list. Others included Mulayam loyalists Leelawati Kushwaha – currently the chairperson of Mahila Kalyan Nigam – Kamlesh Pathak, Ram Vriksha Yadav and Rajpal Kashyap of Hardoi.
The name of SP old-timer and Mulayam loyalist S R S Yadav has also been recommended. A small-time leader from Gonda, Ranvijay Singh — who reportedly has been recommended by Shivpal Yadav — and Sarfaraz Khan, considered close to Azam Khan, too has been recommended for nomination as MLC. Among these nine candidates, Rajpal Kashyap and Ram Vriksha Yadav were earlier regarded as close to Akhilesh, but their names were reportedly recommended by Mulayam.