Akhilesh Yadav will be the Uttar Pradesh chief minister after the Assembly elections, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav told ANI on Monday. “There is no question of the party splitting,” he said, adding that the SP will will begin its campaign for the upcoming polls shortly.
The statement comes even as the father and son have appeared to have been at loggerheads over the past few months. Factions of the Samajwadi Party – one led by Akhilesh Yadav and the other by Mulayam Singh Yadav – have both presented their cases at the Election Commission, staking claim on the party name and symbol, the cycle.
The Samajwadi Party has not named an official chief ministerial candidate for the Uttar Pradesh elections yet.
Mulayam Singh Yadav has repeatedly denied a rift with his son. Earlier on Monday, he had said that the problem was only within the party and not with Akhilesh Yadav. “One person is creating trouble,” he had said, in an apparent reference to his cousin Ram Gopal Yadav.
On January 7, Akhilesh Yadav had submitted affidavits to the EC, saying he had the support of over 90% of SP’s members. The Election Commission had asked both sides to file a reply by January 9 on each other’s petitions to stake claim on the party symbol for use during the polls. Officials said the cycle symbol may be frozen if the Election Commission does not come to a decision before January 17.
The feud within the Samajwadi Party escalated last month when Akhilesh Yadav released his own list of candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections as he was unhappy with the names selected by Shivpal Yadav. Supporters had declared the UP chief minister the national president of the party at a convention on January 1, but Mulayam Singh Yadav asserted his position as the SP chief on Sunday. He had expelled his cousin Ram Gopal Yadav from the party for six years after the convention.
Elections in Uttar Pradesh are scheduled to be held in seven phases, starting February 11. The votes will be counted on March 11. Samajwadi Party will be contesting for seats primarily against the Bahujan Samaj Party, Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress.