In a move that might not go down well with Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday announced candidates for 325 of the 403 Uttar Pradesh Assembly seats, "ignoring" his son's objections to certain names, and "ruled out" alliance with any party for the upcoming polls.
At a hurriedly convened press conference here, the SP patriarch released the list of 325 candidates, giving tickets to 176 sitting MLAs. Names of candidates for rest of the 78 seats would be announced soon, he said, flanked by state party chief Shivpal Yadav, while Chief Minister Akhilesh was away on a tour.
Surprisingly, the list carries names of Sigbatullah Ansari, who is the brother of jailed gangster Mukhtar Ansari, and Atiq Ahmed who faces over 40 criminal cases including of murder and attempt to murder.
Akhilesh, who is believed to be opposed to their nomination, had reportedly asked his father to intervene. Another name which had upset Akhilesh was Aman Mani Tripathi, now arrested by CBI in a case related to the killing of his wife, has, however, did not figure in today's list. The choice of candidates for 175 seats by his warring uncle Shivpal had apparently put off Akhilesh, who prepared his own list of preferred candidates for all the seats and sent it to Mulayam.
Wednesday's list has no mention on names of several pro-Akhilesh ministers and MLAs including those of Ram Govind Chaudhary, Pawan Pandey and Arvind Sing Gope (all ministers).
To a question, Mulayam said Akhilesh was "free to contest" from any seat he wanted.
Akhilesh, who was not averse to an alliance with Congress for the Assembly polls, has been saying that SP alone would get absolute majority and in case of a tie up with Congress, they would bag over 300 seats. "Samajwadi Party is not forming an alliance with anyone," Mulayam said, ending speculation of a tie up between SP and Congress.