The contentious issue of ticket distribution on Monday again exposed the rift in Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Samajwadi Party, with State party chief Shivpal Yadav attacking Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for the latter’s reported parallel list of candidates.
The choice of candidates for 175 seats by Mr. Shivpal has apparently not gone down well with his defiant nephew Mr. Akhilesh who, according to party insiders, is understood to have prepared his own list of preferred candidates for all the 403 UP Assembly seats and sent it to his father and party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav.
This is Mr. Akhilesh’s second power play in the last three days. On December 24, he met first-time MLAs at his residence and promised to give them party ticket.
Chinks in the party’s armour once again came to the fore when Mr. Shivpal sent out a series of tweets, virtually suggesting that he was the boss when it came to distributing ticket for the Assembly elections due in few months.
Mr. Shivpal said the name of 175 candidates were already finalised. He warned that any indiscipline would not be tolerated as it may harm the party’s image. He asserted that distribution of ticket was done on the basis of winnability.
“Party ticket will be distributed based on wins. So far 175 people have been given ticket. The Chief Minister will be selected by the legislature party according to the party’s constitution. No indiscipline will be tolerated in the party,” he tweeted in Hindi.
While sources in the party maintained that Mr. Mulayam will take the final call on candidates, Minister Juhi Singh sought to downplay any controversy over ticket distribution, saying it was a non-issue.
During their recent public turf war after Mr. Akhilesh was replaced with Mr. Shivpal as party chief by Mr. Mulayam, the former had insisted that he should have a say in the ticket distribution as the election was a test of his government’s performance.
The latest development comes after Mr. Mulayam brokered a fragile peace between Mr. Shivpal and Mr. Akhilesh as the infighting threatened to damage the SP’s poll prospects.
As differences over ticket distribution cropped up, the BJP took a swipe at the ruling party.
“This is a sign that the party [SP] is in total disarray and they talk about giving a fight to the BJP,” State BJP general secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak said adding that the tussle in the SP would prove to be its nemesis in the coming polls.
Congress termed the development in the SP’s as their “internal matter”.