Lucknow: In a clear snub to Akhilesh Yadav, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav today announced candidates for 325 of the 403 Uttar Pradesh Assembly seats, “ignoring” his son’s objections to certain names, and “ruled out” alliance with any party for the upcoming polls.
At a hurriedly convened press conference here, the SP patriarch released the list of 325 candidates, giving tickets to 176 sitting MLAs.
Names of candidates for rest of the 78 seats would be announced soon, he said, flanked by state party chief Shivpal Yadav, while Chief Minister Akhilesh was away on a tour.
Surprisingly, the list carries names of Sigbatullah Ansari, who is the brother of jailed gangster Mukhtar Ansari, and Atiq Ahmed who faces over 40 criminal cases including of murder and attempt to murder.
Akhilesh, who is believed to be opposed to their nomination, had reportedly asked his father to intervene.
Another name which had upset Akhilesh was Aman Mani Tripathi, now arrested by CBI in a case related to the killing of his wife, has, however, did not figure in today’s list.
The choice of candidates for 175 seats by his warring uncle Shivpal had apparently put off Akhilesh, who prepared his own list of preferred candidates for all the seats and sent it to Mulayam.
Today’s list has no mention on names of several pro-Akhilesh ministers and MLAs including those of Ram Govind Chaudhary, Pawan Pandey and Arvind Sing Gope (all ministers).
To a question, Mulayam said Akhilesh was “free to contest” from any seat he wanted.
Akhilesh, who was not averse to an alliance with Congress for the Assembly polls, has been saying that SP alone would get absolute majority and in case of a tie up with Congress, they would bag over 300 seats.
“Samajwadi Party is not forming an alliance with anyone,” Mulayam said, ending speculation of a tie up between SP and Congress.
Releasing the candidate list which clearly bore his and
his brother Shivpal’s stamp, Mulayam “ruled out” projecting his son as the chief ministerial candidate.
“SP has no tradition of projecting anyone as its chief ministerial candidate. Some parties do it, and in the process bite the dust. In SP, the legislators elect their leader,” he said replying to a question in this regard.
Mulayam’s announcement to “go alone” came just days after BSP supremo Mayawati claimed that BJP was exerting pressure on the SP chief and his family through Enforcement Directorate, I-T department and CBI to join hands with Congress so as to “divide Muslim votes” and stop her party from coming to power.
“Keeping in mind the chances of BSP coming to power in UP, it is being said BJP is showing threat of agencies like ED, I-T and CBI to the SP chief and his family in connection with DA cases and other shortcomings to divide Muslim vote,” she had said.
Asked as to how many candidates have been selected from the list submitted by Akhilesh, Mulayam parried a direct reply saying that besides the Chief Minister, some other leaders had also given their own lists and all were to be accommodated.
Speculation was rife that SP was ready to offer 78 seats to Congress in case of an alliance and interestingly the ruling party has left out just as many seats for which candidates were yet to be announced.
The SP supremo said BJP will get a befitting reply from the electorate for demonetisation and also criticised it for not fulfilling its promises.
He claimed elections will be held before February 28 next year.