The cracks in the Samajwadi Party family seem to be intensifying, as on Thursday Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav met with legislators who have not received tickets for the upcoming Assembly elections, and conveyed his displeasure to father Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Speculations are rife that the UP Chief Minister has urged the MLAs who have not received tickets to contest as independent candidates, and is expected to declare a list of 167 such rebel candidates.
On Wednesday, the SP supremo had declared the names of the 325 candidates who have been given tickets in the upcoming Assembly elections. The names of 78 others are yet to be declared.
Hectic political activities began in the morning with party leaders gathering outside the residences of Akhilesh and Mulayam. A big crowd assembled outside Shivpal's residence also.
Akhilesh, clearly upset over apparently being kept out of the process to select candidates for the upcoming Assembly polls, met his supporters in Lucknow, including legislators and office bearers who do not figure in the list, party sources said.
Later, he spoke to Mulayam Singh Yadav to convey his displeasure over the list of candidates from which names of his close confidants are missing, sources said.
Mulayam, along with his brother and state party chief Shivpal Yadav, on Wednesday declared candidates for 325 of the 403 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh and ruled out projecting Akhilesh as the Chief Ministerial candidate.
Akhilesh was away on his Bundelkhand tour when the list was released at a hurriedly-convened press conference. The Chief Minister and Shivpal have been involved in a power struggle for several months now.
The list, which includes 176 sitting MLAs, announced by Mulayam and Shivpal in the absence of Akhilesh, has left out several pro-Akhilesh ministers, including Ram Govind Chaudhary, Pawan Pandey and Arvind Singh Gope, and does not carry names of over 50 sitting MLAs.
Ten ministers, including Shivpal, sacked by the chief minister over the past few months have got tickets as well. These former ministers were in open defiance of Akhilesh and it paid off.
Within hours after the list's release, which clearly bore the stamp of Mulayam and Shivpal, Akhilesh had said he would take up the choice of candidates with the party chief.
"The list 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 they should be given tickets," an upset Akhilesh had said last night.
In a late night tit-for-tat action, the Chief Minister struck back sacking two Shivpal loyalists - Surabhi Shukla, vice-chairperson of UP Awas Vikas Parishad and her husband Sandeep Shukla from the post of advisor of Rajkiya Nirman Nigam. Sandeep has been fielded from Sultanpur Sadar seat.
- With PTI inputs