In a move which may be seen as offering the proverbial olive branch, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav said on Monday that he has no problem with son Akhilesh Yadav becoming the next chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
“There is no dispute between my son and me. Akhilesh will be the chief minister after elections,” the SP patriarch said.
The public admission came even as the Election Commission said it will shortly take a call on the claims on the party’s election symbol ‘cycle’ by both factions – of Mulayam Singh and Akhilesh Yadav. The SP patriarch then dismissed reports of a split in the party. “For the benefit of the entire state, our party stands united. There’s no question of the party splitting and we will begin campaigning shortly,” he insisted.
Parallel to this, Mulayam urged the Rajya Sabha Chairman to derecognise his cousin Ramgopal Yadav as leader of the party group following his expulsion from the party on December 30.
He also urged Chairman Hamid Ansari to shift Ramgopal’s seat to the back benches following his expulsion. On his part, stepping on the gas Ramgopal approached the Election Commission and urged it to take an early decision on the disputed symbol “Cycle” because the nomination process for the Uttar Pradesh elections will commence from January 17.
Ramgopal was accompanied by party MPs Naresh Agarwal and Neeraj Shekhar. CM Akhilesh Yadav was to himself lead his camp to the Commission but decided against coming to Delhi at the last moment. Earlier, Mulayam Singh and his close confidantes Amar Singh and Shivpal Singh reached Nirvachan Sadan to meet top EC officials. Though the Mulayam camp did not submit any fresh documents, it claimed that Mulayam is still the SP chief and has legal claim over the party and its symbol.
Mulayam also told the Commission that the convention called by Akhilesh Yadav camp on January 1 was unconstitutional” as Ramgopal Yadav, who had convened the meet, was expelled from the party on December 30, 2016. Mulayam also contested the affidavits of party leaders submitted by the party faction owing allegiance to his son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, alleging they were forged and asked the EC to get them verified.
In an apparent reference to Ramgopal, Mulayam Singh said “one person has influenced his son” which has led to “problems in the party”.