The bitter power struggle between Akhilesh and Shivpal Yadav came to the fore once again today on the ticklish issue of ticket distribution with the Chief Minister differing with his uncle over selection of candidates.
As reports of strains over ticket distribution cropped up, Opposition took a swipe at the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh with BSP supremo Mayawati saying the infighting has split Samajwadi Party into two camps.
Shivpal, who had replaced Akhilesh as state party chief during a bitter feud in the Yadav clan, however, maintained there was “no problem” and if there is any it would be resolved.
“The matter of ticket (distribution) will be cleared. As soon as elections will be announced, all problems will be resolved…When I have already said everyone’s opinion is being considered, there is no problem…Why are you (media) creating problems,” he posed.
After Akhilesh reportedly sent a parallel list of candidates to his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shivpal today met the SP supremo at his residence here for over three hours apparently to iron out differences.
Akhilesh is believed to be opposed to nomination of Sigbatullah Ansari, who is the brother of jailed gangster Mukhtar Ansari. He also does not favour giving ticket to Atiq Ahmed from Kanpur, who faces over 40 criminal cases including those of murder and attempt to murder, and Aman Mani Tripathi, now arrested by CBI in a case related to the killing of his wife.
These names have reportedly upset Akhilesh Yadav so much, sources say, that he has sounded out his father Mulayam and asked him to intervene. The choice of candidates for 175 seats by Shivpal has apparently not gone down well with his defiant nephew Akhilesh who, according to party insiders, prepared his own list of preferred candidates for all the 403 UP Assembly seats and sent it to Mulayam. The list drafted by the Chief Minister carries his name as well as a candidate from Bundelkhand region where he will embark on a ‘Rath Yatra’ on December 28.
During their recent public turf war, Akhilesh had insisted he should have a say in the ticket distribution as the election was a test of his government’s performance. This is Akhilesh’s second power play in the last three days. On December 24, Akhilesh had met first-time MLAs at his residence and promised to give them party tickets.