Mulayam wants to hand over UP reins to son Akhilesh

Some partymen are averse to the idea

Hoping to return to power in Uttar Pradesh after the forthcoming assembly polls, Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav may hand over the mantle to his son and heir apparent Akhilesh Yadav.

Akhilesh is the party’s youth icon and seems to also be a counter to Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi.

From the distribution of tickets to the formation of campaign strategy, it was Akhilesh Yadav who called the shots, while old hands, including some in “Mulayam’s family” were sidelined, according to the state SP leaders.

“Akhilesh Yadav was not only instrumental in selecting the party candidates but also in deciding the line to be taken during the campaigning,” the leaders said adding that the ordinary party workers were almost certain that Akhilesh would lead the government, if the SP returned to power in the state.

Akhilesh has also been the lead campaigner for the party. He has been campaigning from his specially made Samajwadi Kranti Rath and criss-crossing the state for several days, well before the announcement of the poll schedule. Mulayam has been playing second fiddle to Akhilesh, hinting that he is ready to hand over the mantle.

The party leaders cite some specific incidents to buttress their contention about Akhilesh’s growing clout within the party as well the declining authority of the other family members, especially that of senior SP leader  and leader of Opposition in the outgoing assembly Shivpal Singh Yadav, who also happens to be Mulayam’s younger brother.

The leaders also mentioned that Akhilesh reportedly cancelled the nomination of a candidate from the Lamhuan assembly constituency, who was a Shivpal confidante.

Also, after Shivpal’s announcement that UP minister Naseemuddin Siddique’s brother Hasnuddin had joined the party, Akhilesh issued a denial much to the surprise of the senior leaders.

The SP circles were abuzz with rumors that Shivpal was not at all happy with the prominence being given to Akhilesh.

However, Shivpal said Akhilesh could become the chief minister if elected by the party legislators. “If the leadership and the legislators want, they may make Akhilesh the chief minister,” Shivpal said on Friday.

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