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UP elections: Akhilesh Yadav hits back after Mulayam puts out poll list, rules out pact

The list released by Mulayam Singh included names like Sibghatullah Ansari, brother of jailed strongman Mukhtar Ansari, and Atiq Ahmed who has been named in several cases.

Written by Lalmani Verma | Lucknow |
Updated: December 30, 2016 1:37:01 pm
Mulayam in Lucknow on Wednesday. (Express Photo by Pramod Adhikari) Mulayam in Lucknow on Wednesday. (Express Photo by Pramod Adhikari)

The ruling SP in Uttar Pradesh was in turmoil Wednesday after party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, ignoring son Akhilesh Yadav’s objections to poll tickets for certain leaders and his plans for an alliance in the state assembly elections, put out a list of 325 of the possible 403 candidates. Mulayam Singh also ruled out a pre-poll pact with any party.

Upset with the list released by his father and uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav in Lucknow, the Chief Minister, who was on a tour of Bundelkhand, told reporters: “The list released today does not include names of certain candidates who are sure to win. I will take it up with the SP chief and tell him that some of them have done really good work and should be given tickets.”

WATCH VIDEO |  Find Out What UP CM Akhilesh Yadav Did After SP Chief Mulayam Singh Released Poll List

The list included names like Sibkatullah Ansari, brother of jailed strongman Mukhtar Ansari, and Atiq Ahmed who has been named in several cases — Akhilesh had opposed tickets for both. Several MLAs and ministers considered close to Akhilesh, including Ram Govind Chaudhary, Pawan Pandey and Arvind Singh Gope, have been left out.

Sources said Akhilesh has called meeting in Lucknow Thursday of ministers and MLAs who have been denied tickets — at least 46 sitting MLAs do not figure in the list of 325.

Late Wednesday night, the Chief Minister struck back by sacking Sandeep Shukla — he has been handed the Sultanpur Sadar ticket by Mulayam Singh — from the post of advisor in the UP Rajkiya Nirman Nigam. Shukla’s wife Surbhi, vice-chairperson of UP Housing and Development Board, was also removed. Arun Kumar, the sitting MLA from Sultanpur Sadar, does not figure in Mulayam Singh’s list.

Earlier in the day, ending speculation of a pact between the SP and Congress, Mulayam Singh said: “Samajwadi Party is not forming an alliance with anyone.” Akhilesh, who has been involved in a tussle with uncle Shivpal for control of the party, had earlier indicated he was open to the idea of an alliance with the Congress.

Mulayam Singh also ruled out projecting Akhilesh as the chief ministerial candidate, saying “SP has no tradition of projecting anyone as its chief ministerial candidate. Some parties do it, and in the process bite the dust. In SP, the legislators elect their leader.”

He said Akhilesh, as Chief Minister, was “free to contest” from any seat he wanted. Names of candidates for the remaining 78 seats, he said, would be announced soon.

Asked how many candidates had been selected from the list submitted by Akhilesh, Mulayam Singh said some other leaders had also handed their lists and all had to be accommodated.

Akhilesh loyalists Arvind Singh Gope, MLA from Ramnagar in Barabanki and Rural Development Minister, has been replaced by Rakesh Verma, son of senior party leader and former Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma. Gope was SP state general secretary when Akhilesh was its state president. Shivpal replaced Gope with Om Prakash Singh who was removed as minister by Akhilesh.

Ram Govind Chaudhary, MLA from Bansdeeh in Ballia and Panchayati Raj Minister, does not figure in the list. The ticket has gone to Neeraj Singh Guddu.

Pawan Pandey, MLA from Ayodhya and Forest Minister who has continued on the post though he had been expelled from the party by Shivpal, too has been denied a ticket.

Those handed tickets include ministers sacked by Akhilesh — Raj Kishore Singh from Haraiyya, Narad Rai from Ballia Nagar, Shadab Fatima from Zahoorabad and Om Prakash Singh from Zamania. Gayatri Prasad Prajapati, who was sacked and later brought back, is the SP candidate from Amethi.

The Mohammadabad ticket has gone to Mukhtar Ansari’s brother Sibkatullah Ansari while Atiq Ahmed has been named for Kanpur Cantonment.

The party also put on hold the candidature of Amanmani Tripathi from Nautanwa — his name was announced by Shivpal recently. Tripathi, whose father Amarmani and mother Madhumani were convicted of murder and lodged in Gorakhpur jail, was arrested by CBI and is currently in jail in the case related to the murder of his wife Sara.

Mulayam Singh told reporters he had declared names of candidates he thought can win and ensure that the SP forms the government again. “If a minister has been denied a ticket, it does not mean he has been insulted. He will be adjusted and given due regard later,” he said.

Earlier, Mulayam Singh told SP workers to work hard for the elections: “Party ka samman bacha lein (keep the party honour intact).”

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