The factional feud in the Samajwadi Party was again in the open, a day after Mulayam Singh Yadav declared candidates for 325 of the 403 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh and ruled out projecting Akhilesh as the Chief Ministerial candidate.
A clearly upset Akhilesh today met his supporters at his 5-Kalidas Marg residence here and later spoke to his father and party patriarch Mulayam Singh to convey his displeasure over the list of candidates from which names of his close confidants were missing, party sources said.
Hectic political activities began right from the morning with party leaders gathering outside the residences of Akhilesh and Mulayam. A big crowd also assembled outside Shivpal's residence.
Party sources said the Chief Minister, before meeting Mulayam, met legislators and office bearers who do not figure in the list of nominees.
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.
Besides, 10 ministers, including Shivpal, sacked by the chief minister over the past few months have got tickets. These former ministers were in open defiance of Akhilesh and it paid off.
Within hours after release of the list, which clearly bore the stamp of Mulayam and Shivpal, Akhilesh who was away in Bundelkhand yesterday, 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.