Lucknow: 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,” Mulayam told ANI.
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.
In a thinly-veiled reference to cousin Ramgopal Yadav, Mulayam reiterated what he said last month when he expelled Akhilesh from the party: that his son had been wrongly influenced, which had led to problems in the party.
“There are some differences within the party, not much. Only one person is responsible for this. That will be resolved soon when I reach Lucknow,” the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said.
The factional war in the Samajwadi Party escalated today, with Ramgopal Yadav urging the Election Commission to take an early decision on the disputed party symbol. On the other hand, Mulayam requested Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari to derecognise Ramgopal as leader of the party group as he had been expelled from the party on December 30.
Flanked by brother Shivpal Yadav and loyalist Amar Singh, Mulayam met Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi today to assert his claim over the ‘cycle’. The Election Commission had given both sides time till January 9 to submit proof of their legislative support.
However, if the Election Commission cannot reach any decision before January 17, then the party symbol might be frozen and two different symbols would be provided to both factions for contesting the assembly elections. The assembly elections in the most populous and politically significant state in India will be held in seven phases beginning February 11.