To bolster his claim over the Samajwadi Party symbol, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has started getting affidavits signed by elected party representatives and leaders who hold organisational posts at the national, state and district level.
On Thursday, Akhilesh called a meeting of party MLAs and MLCs at his residence. More than 200 MLAs and about 54 MLCs are believed to have signed the affidavits, accepting that they attended the party’s national convention in Lucknow on Sunday and elected Akhilesh as their national president through a voice vote. Most of the 19 Rajya Sabha MPs and four Lok Sabha MPs of the party have also given their support in writing, said a leader of the Akhilesh camp.
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This comes after the two factions of the party — one led by Akhilesh and the other by Mulayam Singh Yadav — approached the Election Commission and staked claim to the party symbol. The poll panel has asked both factions to prove their majority through signed affidavits from party office-bearers, MPs, MLAs and MLCs. The two factions have to file the documents by January 9.
On Thursday morning, Mulayam and Shivpal Singh Yadav left for Delhi, where they met party leaders and experts. They returned in the evening with Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh and the three held a meeting at Mulayam’s residence.
Meanwhile, Cabinet minister Azam Khan met Akhilesh at his residence in Lucknow. The SP has 229 MLAs and 67 MLCs. Sources said that after meeting the legislators on Thursday, Akhilesh directed over 35 district unit presidents to get the affidavits signed by district executive committee members.
Significantly, among the MLAs at the CM’s residence was jailed don Mukhtar Ansari’s brother Sighbatullah Ansari, an MLA from Mohammadabad constituency. He too handed over a signed affidavit in support of Akhilesh. Ansari was elected MLA from Quami Ekta Dal in 2012 and Akhilesh had opposed the party’s merger with SP. The merger, in fact, was the main cause of the feud between Akhilesh and Shivpal. In November, Akhilesh skipped Mulayam’s rally organised by Mukhtar’s brothers, Afzal and Sibgatullah, in Ghazipur. Sources said Akhilesh told the MLAs to carry on with their campaign for the upcoming polls.