Mulayam says Akhilesh next CM

Extends olive branch to son

Mulayam says Akhilesh next CM

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Monday night extended an olive branch to son Akhilesh Yadav, saying he would be the next chief minister of Uttar Pradesh if the party retains power.

“Akhilesh will be the next chief minister. Our party is completely united. There is no question of the party breaking up,” Mulayam said.

The surprise statement came on a day when the factional war in the Samajwadi Party escalated with the Akhilesh camp seeking an early decision on the disputed party symbol, while the embattled SP patriarch asserted that he is still the party chief.

Before the factional dispute reached the Election Commission with the two sides claiming majority support of delegates and elected representatives, Mulayam had refused to anoint Akhilesh as the party’s chief ministerial candidate, saying the new MLAs would choose their leader.

“We will very soon tour the entire state to send out a message of unity. All the confusion that was there is ending,” he said.

Earlier during the day, Mulayam told the Election Commission he remained the Samajwadi Party president, and termed the convention called by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s camp “unconstitutional”.

He asserted that the party’s cycle symbol should remain with his camp.

Mulayam has also written to the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, intimating him about the expulsion of Ram Gopal Yadav, leader of the Samajwadi Party in the Upper House. Ram Gopal is Mulayam’s brother.

Minutes after Mulayam left the Election Commission, Ram Gopal arrived there to submit signatures of office-bearers to bolster the faction’s claim of being the “original” SP.

Amid all the action, the party patriarch maintained he had no “rift” with his son, and purportedly held Ram Gopal responsible for the trouble.

“There is some problem in the party. One person is creating trouble. I am sure that matters will be resolved,” he said.

In his submission before the poll panel, according to sources, Mulayam said the convention to elect Akhilesh as the national president of the party had been called by Ram Gopal.

Mulayam maintained Ram Gopal had been expelled from the party for six years on December 30, 2016, two days before the convention. He also disputed the authenticity of documents submitted on behalf of the Akhilesh camp to claim the support of a majority of MLAs, MLCs and MPs.

Motorcycle alternative?
The Akhilesh Yadav camp of the Samajwadi Party has proposed an alternative symbol just ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

According to sources, Ram Gopal Yadav on Monday told the Election Commission his faction would be happy with the motorcycle symbol if it were to lose the cycle. Akhilesh supporters have been talking of the motorcycle for over a month, the sources said.

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