With filing of nominations for the first phase of assembly polls drawing closer, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday asked his ministers and legislators not to worry about tickets as he fine tuned with his close aides Samajwadi Party’s strategy.
As his father and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and warring uncle Shivpal camped in New Delhi, waiting for the Election Commission to take up the matter on cycle dispute on Friday, Akhilesh remained closeted with his close confidants at his 5 Kalidas Marg official residence to discuss the poll scenario.
“Don’t get trapped in the symbol dispute. It is before EC and will get resolved on Friday,” he told party workers who had assembled at this residence for ‘Janata Darshan’.
“Go to the masses. I will draw up my tour programme and will join you,” Akhilesh, who replaced Mulayam as the SP president recently, directed his supporters, who aired their strong desire that he should be the chief minister again.
Akhilesh told his ministers and legislators that they should not worry about tickets. “You will get tickets, do not worry. Work hard for SP’s victory,” he told them during the 90-minute animated interaction.
“All is well in the party,” he told waiting mediapersons on coming out of the meeting.
Senior SP minister and Akhilesh loyalist Rajendra Chaudhary said that the chief minister was giving final touches to the SP manifesto which was likely to be released soon after the symbol dispute is resolved by the EC.
The manifesto will focus on agriculture sector and welfare of minorities, he said.
Party insiders said Akhilesh was working on a new list of candidates, keeping out those facing criminal charges and accommodating deserving aspirants.
The two SP factions led by Mulayam and Akhilesh have staked claim over the party and its election symbol ‘cycle’ ahead of Assembly elections and the EC has decided to hear the matter.
Mulayam, in a surprise softening of stand towards his son, recently said Akhilesh will be the next Chief Minister, but his statement failed to iron out the differences between the father-son duo on contentious issues like party president’s post which Akhilesh does not want to give up.
Taking full control of the ruling party after being crowned as its head at a disputed national convention here on January 1, Akhilesh has been going whole hog consolidating his grip over the organisation by making new appointments and releasing list of candidates for the Legislative Council polls.
The seven-phase Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh will begin on February 11 and filing of nominations will start on January 17 before which the symbol dispute has to be resolved.