In a clear indication that the internal rift in Samajwadi Party has further widened, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav skipped a crucial meeting called by state party chief Shivpal Yadav ahead of the upcoming Assembly polls slated for early next year.
Interestingly, Shivpal declared Akhilesh Yadav Samajwadi Party’s CM face for the upcoming Assembly polls in the same meeting.
Earlier in the day, Shivpal Yadav had met Akhilesh to personally invite him to a meeting of SP district and city units’ presidents.
However, the UP CM did not turn up for the meeting, indicating all was not well in the party despite repeated protestations by its senior leaders to the contrary.
Quoting its sources present at the meeting, a PTI report said that Shivpal, apparently seeking to bury the hatchet, made it clear that Akhilesh will be Samajwadi Party’s chief ministerial candidate, days after Mulayam virtually left the field open by saying the newly elected legislators will choose their leader, something which did not go down well with the camp followers of the incumbent CM.
“Akhilesh Yadav will be the next CM, if party is voted to power. He will be our CM candidate,” Shivpal said, according to a leader present at the meeting where delegates were not allowed to carry mobile phones.
Shivpal asked them to gear up for elections and ensure that the party’s silver jubilee celebrations on November 5 in the state capital was a grand show.
“You all should start preparations for November 5 event and make it a big success,” Shivpal told them.
Akhilesh, with whom Shivpal is engaged in a running feud over the last few months, has already made it clear in a letter to the Samajwadi Party boss and his father Mulayam that he would be proceeding on his ‘rath yatra’ on November 3 to highlight the development work done by his government, in a clear indication that he would skip that event too.
With the tense stand-off between Akhilesh and Shivpal continuing, speculations about a possible split are rife with some even suggesting a new party named National Samajwadi Party or Pragatisheel Samajwadi party with motorcycle as its symbol could be formed by the Chief Minister ahead of the assembly elections.
(With PTI inputs)