Your Move, Mulayam. With Akhilesh Yadav’s List, Samajwadi Party Verges On Split

Updated: 30 December 2016, 11:39 PM

Defying Mulayam Singh, Akhilesh Yadav has come out with his own list of candidates for the Assembly polls

LUCKNOW:  The ruling Samajwadi Party seemed to hurtle towards a split just before assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh after Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav defiantly released a list of candidates for seats already allotted by his father and party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav to others on Thursday night. His list of 235 candidates includes several party leaders who are close to Akhilesh and who did not make it to the party’s official list announced a day before by Mulayam Singh Yadav. The rebels said they have been asked by the chief minister to go back to their constituencies and prepare to contest the elections.

Here are the top 10 developments in this big story:
  1. Akhilesh Yadav’s parallel list is seen as a last-ditch effort to pressure his father into reconsidering the candidacy of his key aides after they failed to reach common ground at a meeting in Lucknow on Thursday.
  2. Mulayam Singh Yadav has attempted a compromise. On Thursday night his brother and the Samajwadi  Party’s UP chief Shivpal Yadav named 68 more candidates, including two Akhilesh loyalists. But that is unlikely to be enough to placate his son.
  3. Uttar Pradesh has 403 assembly seats and the party has now named candidates for all but 10 of them, with Mulayam Singh Yadav making clear that the party will contest alone and not in alliance with any other party.
  4. Both Shivpal and Akhilesh, engaged in a bitter power struggle for months, had recommended candidates. Mulayam Singh Yadav’s list, announced in Akhilesh’s absence, distinctly favoured brother Shivpal, in what was seen as another big snub to the 43-year-old chief minister.
  5. The official Samajwadi Party list has on it several people backed by Shivpal and whose candidacy has been fiercely opposed by Akhilesh Yadav, including a gangster-turned-politician who faces 44 serious criminal charges.
  6. Mulayam Singh Yadav has also repeatedly said no one will be projected as the party’s presumptive chief minister, which is unacceptable to Akhilesh Yadav’s supporters, who say the young chief minister is the party’s face.
  7. Mulayam Singh’s cousin and senior party leader Ramgopal Yadav said many in the party do not want to see Akhilesh as chief minister again, a reference to Shivpal Yadav. “But, the fact remains that people of the state want him back as CM,” said the staunch Akhilesh supporter.
  8. The Samajwadi Party’s internal strife gives an added advantage to the BJP and Mayawati’s BSP in the mega battle for Uttar Pradesh, being pegged as the semi final before national elections in 2019.
  9. Elections in UP are expected to be announced by the Election Commission any day now.
  10. In Akhilesh Yadav’s bitter feud with his uncle – constructed around who shall call the shots in selecting candidates for the UP elections – Mulayam Singh Yadav has consistently sided with Shivpal Yadav.