The Samajwadi Party family drama in Lucknow continues as national party president Mulayam Singh Yadav has revoked the sacking of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav from the party.
In the morning, over 190 of 224 sitting MLAs of the Samajwadi Party chose to go to Akhilesh Yadav's meeting rather than Mulayam Singh's. Only about 20 odd MLAs turned up for Mulayam Singh Yadav's meeting.
Another 17 MLAs from other parties also signed their support for Akhilesh Yadav, while only 60 other candidates, who are not sitting MLAs, turned up for Mulayam Singh Yadav's meeting. Mulayam Singh Yadav had earlier announced candidates for 397 of 403 seats.
Having shown his ability to walk away with most of the party, Akhilesh Yadav established he was in a stronger position than Mulayam Singh Yadav. Lalu Yadav from Patna phoned Mulayam Singh Yadav to resolve matters and not let the party split. Meanwhile, party leader Azam Khan became mediator, choosing to go for neither meeting.
Azam Khan, Akhilesh Yadav and Ramgopal Yadav then drove from the CM's residence at 5 Kalidas Marg to Mulayam Singh Yadav's residence at 5 Vikramaditya Marg. Shivpal Yadav and his son Aditya Yadav later joined the meeting. By the end of the meeting, the expulsion of Akhilesh and Ram Gopal was revoked.
Shivpal Yadav has told ANI news agency that all party leaders will sit together and make a candidate list afresh. He has hinted that all is well again, but all eyes are on Mulayam Singh Yadav who is expected to announce further changes.
The Akhilesh camp has reportedly demanded, firstly, that their expulsion be revoked. Secondly, that Akhilesh Yadav be formally declared chief ministerial candidate. Thirdly, that Shivpal Yadav be removed from the post of the party's state unit president. Fourthly, that Akhilesh Yadav have a say in deciding tickets. And lastly, that Amar Singh be sacked from the party.
The first of these has been accepted. For the rest, the story is still to play out.
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