Father-Son Clash Again; SP On The Verge Of A Split

Lucknow: The ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh is in the throes of a crisis again three months after a similar logjam was resolved. Many close followers of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav who did not find their names in the list of candidates released by party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav have on Thursday declared that they would be contesting the ensuing elections as rebels. The three top leaders of the party, Mulayam, his younger brother Sivpal Yadav and Mulayam’s son Akhilesh were at loggerheads when the time for announcing the election schedule by Election Commission has almost arrived.

What is billed as semi-finals before the 2019 general elections, the UP electoral scene is becoming murkier by the day what with Income Tax raids on Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) office and the threat of a split in the ruling party with the Congress not knowing whether it is possible to have any alliance either with the SP or BSP. The BJP which won 73 out 80 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 elections is sitting pretty lecturing about development and inclusive politics although it is apprehensive of the adverse impact of demonetization on the popular psyche. Akhilesh Yadav was snubbed for the second time in three months by his father by denying party ticket to his staunch loyalists. Earlier, Mulayam had supported his brother and made him party chief in UP by divesting his son of the same position.

Mulayam Singh had released a list of 325 candidates denying tickets to many loyalists of the CM. The prominent omission was that of Atul Pradhan who was supposed to contest from Meerut. Pavan Panda and Atul Pradhan are two close followers of Akhilesh who were considered anarchists by the party chief Sivpal Singh. The SP MLAs whose names did not figure in the list had met at CM’s residence to chalk out their future plan of action.

Observers say the IT raids on BSP would have no effect on the party’s electoral prospects. BSP is likely to emerge as the single largest party despite the raids. The party leaders have been arguing that the money, Rs 104 crore, was accounted for and legitimately deposited in the banks. There is nothing illegal about the money, they said. The BJP was aiming its guns at Mayawati for the simple reason that her party is ahead of other parties, including the BJP, in the race. Akhilesh said a couple of times that an alliance between SP and Congress would be good and the combination can win more than 300 seats. That was much before the present crisis. The Congress leaders did not make any such announcement although the regional leaders were courting the chief minister. Earlier, the Congress leadership is understood to have offered the post of deputy prime minister to Mayawati post-2019 elections if she agreed for a tie-up in the present assembly elections. Mayawati, who is acutely concerned about the CBI cases, did not accept the offer for fear of antagonizing the BJP. In case of a split in the SP, the Muslims would move away from the SP and totally back the BSP. Mayawati had given a large chunk of seats to the Muslims this time. The Muslims in UP would vote for the candidates who appear likely to beat the BJP candidates.  

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