Ram Govind Chaudhary to be LOP; Akhilesh ignores Shivpal
Eight time MLA Ram Govind Chaudhary of Samajwadi Party is set to become the Leader of the Opposition in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly as party chief Akhilesh Yadav nominated him on Monday ignoring stalwarts like Azam Khan and Shivpal Yadav.
"Akhilesh Yadav has nominated Ram Govind Chaudhary as the Leader of the SP Legislature Party and he will also be the Leader of the Opposition," SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary said here.
70-year-old Chaudhary, an eight-time MLA, is considered close to Akhilesh and had served as basic education, child development and nutrition minister in the erstwhile SP government.
The name of Azam Khan, the parliamentary affairs minister in the Akhilesh government, was also doing the rounds for the post. During the Mayawati government when Samajwadi Party was the main opposition party in UP, Shivpal Yadav was the Leader of Opposition. But since he fell out with his nephew and SP president Akhilesh, it was unlikely that Shivpal would be nominated for the post.
Chaudhary, who was active in student union politics, was first elected to the UP Legislature in 1977 from Chillhar constituency. He now represents Bansdih constituency in Ballia district.
Party sources said SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav has convened a meeting of party legislators here on Wednesday, a day after his son will meet newly elected party MLAs, reflecting that differences in the Yadav family were not over.
"The first meeting of the SP Legislature Party will take place tomorrow. No agenda has been set as of now," Chaudhary said.
Akhilesh had convened the party's national executive meeting here on Saturday but senior members Mulayam and Khan were conspicuously absent. Following a bitter feud within the family, Akhilesh had snatched reins from Mulayam and their fight also reached the Election Commission on the dispute over 'bicycle' symbol, which was allotted to Akhilesh.
Mulayam, who has since been given the role of party mentor, had openly criticised the Samajwadi-Congress alliance and was virtually absent during the recent UP assembly poll campaign.