The Samajwadi Party infighting took a further dip on Thursday when Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav sought signed affidavits from him supporters, PTI reported. The SP has 229 MLAs and 67 MLCs. More than 200 MLAs and at least 54 MLCs have backed the CM, according to The Indian Express. Akhilesh Yadav has also reportedly found support in most of the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs. Akhilesh Yadav is expected to meet the Election Commission on Friday to prove his majority.
The two factions of the SP – one led by Akhilesh Yadav, and the other led by his father Mulayam Singh Yadav – are fighting it out with the EC to stake claim over the party name and its election symbol, the cycle. Uttar Pradesh will hold its elections in seven phases starting February 11.
Quami Ekta Dal MLA Sibghatullah Ansari and Mulayam Singh loyalist Gayatri Prasad Prajapati have also voiced their support for Akhilesh Yadav, The Times of India reported. The two were once believed to be the reason behind the party infighting, when Akhilesh Yadav had opposed SP’s merger with the Quami Ekta Dal.
The Uttar Pradesh chief minister wants Mulayam Singh Yadav to let him be national president for three months. The Election Commission on Thursday had asked both factions to file a reply by January 9 on each other’s petitions to claim the party symbol. SP’s senior leader Azam Khan has been acting as the peace broker, though this has not yielded any results. Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday said his supporters to go back to their respective constituencies and gear up for the elections.
The SP feud escalated in December, when Akhilesh Yadav released his own list of candidates for the polls. Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Ram Gopal Yadav were expelled from the party on December 30, but reinstated a day later. Following this, Akhilesh Yadav held his own national convention where he was declared the party national president, but Mulayam Singh Yadav called this “illegal”.
In September 2015, when Shivpal Yadav was appointed the state SP chief, Akhilesh Yadav had relieved him of his Cabinet portfolios. This prompted months of party infighting. Despite interventions from Mulayam Singh Yadav and other senior party leaders, the family feud appears to be never ending.