Wednesday , September 20 2017

UP Elections: Akhilesh Yadav takes on Shivpal, lists all 403 probables

While there was no official confirmation on names proposed by the Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, sources stated gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed and jailed don Mukhtar Ansari’s brother Sibghatullah Ansari do not figure in his list

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Uttar Pradesh:  In a move that could revive the rift between Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Mulayam Singh Yadav and Samajwadi Party’s Uttar Pradesh unit President Shivpal Yadav, the CM Akhilesh Yadav is learnt to have met party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday and handed over a list of probable candidates for all the 403 constituencies in the state.

While Shivpal Yadav is thought to declare candidates on behalf of the party and had late Sunday afternoon tweeted that 175 people have so far been given tickets, SP insiders say Akhilesh’s move to finalise probables for all the seats is his way of sending across the message that he will play a major role in ticket distribution.

Akhilesh Yadav had arranged a meeting with more than 100 party MLAs at his residence in Lucknow over Friday and Saturday and had allegedly assured them that every Samajwadi Party’s legislator who has done good work in his or her constituency would be fielded again in the state elections which is scheduled early next year.

While there was no official confirmation on names proposed by the Chief Minister, sources stated gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed and jailed don Mukhtar Ansari’s brother Sibghatullah Ansari do not figure in his list. Shivpal Yadav has declared the candidature of both Atiq and Sibghatullah.

Ansari’s party, the Quami Ekta Dal (QED), had been merged with the Samajwadi Party recently in spite of stiff opposition from Akhilesh, and the feud between the CM and his uncle Mulayam Singh Yadav had come out in public soon after Shivpal announced QED’s merger in early October. Mulayam had later brokered peace, fragile at best.

On Monday, asked about the list of probables the Chief Minister gave to the party chief, Shivpal stated he has no such information. He claimed that SP candidates will be announced with consent of “senior leaders”.

“The matter of ticket (distribution) will be cleared. As soon as elections are announced, all problems will be set…. There is no problem…why are you (media) creating issues,” Shivpal asked.

Akhilesh’s latest move to stamp his authority came a day after party’s Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh on Saturday had a brief meeting with Shivpal in Lucknow, and both later met Mulayam at the latter’s Lucknow residence. The Chief Minister has no love lost for Singh, and has given enough indications that he is not happy with the latter’s presence in SP.

On his part, Singh, who made his first visit to Lucknow after his name had come up in the Yadav family strife back in September, had refused to disclose details of Saturday’s meeting.

Highlighting that Akhilesh has “assured” his supporters, during the meeting with first-time MLAs last week, that he will stand up for them during selection of party candidates, an SP leader close to the CM stated, “Now it is up to Neta-ji (Mulayam) to take the final decision (on candidates).”

At an event in September, Akhilesh had made it clear that he would want a say in selection of party candidates since the elections will be a test for his government.

On October 3, soon after Shivpal proclaimed candidates for 9 Assembly seats — including that of Amanmani Tripathi, who is facing a CBI probe into his wife’s murder — and also changed candidates on 17 other constituencies, Akhilesh had stated that he was “not aware” of the decision.

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