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Akhilesh Upset at SP Ticket to Murder Accused, Says 'Wait for Trump Card'

Sumit Pande | CNN-News18

Updated: October 3, 2016, 7:17 PM IST
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Akhilesh Upset at SP Ticket to Murder Accused, Says 'Wait for Trump Card'
File image of Akhilesh Yadav . (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Lucknow: Pancham Tal, the fifth floor in the CM secretariat or Sachivlaya Annex (with an extra emphasis on 'e') in Lucknow is the equivalent of South Block in Lutyens Delhi. Abutting the Governor House in the heart of the city, it has been the administrative nerve center of a state for more than thirty-five years now. It was VP Singh who, as the CM of Uttar Pradesh shifted the CM office from the old secretariat to Pancham Tal in 1980. In all these years, from ND Tiwari to Kalyan Singh to Mayawati and Mulayam, all UP CMs have operated out of this hallowed fifth-floor.

On Monday, when Akhilesh Yadav inaugurated the new high-tech CM secretariat built at a cost of over Rs. 600 cr with a 100-seat conference room and a 600-seat auditorium, it in many ways symbolised a generational shift in state politics- from the decades of Congress dominance to post mandal-kamandal era.

That he chose this moment to reiterate the changing contours of state politics to his father Mulayam Singh and his uncle Shivpal is more than just coincidence.

I hold the trump card. And the one who holds that card shall have the last laugh.

That was the message delivered on a day the party released a list of 14 candidates, including half-a-dozen new ones who replaced people seen to be close to both Akhilesh and Ramgopal.

The new nominees include Amanmani Tripathi, son of Amarmani Tripathi who is a convict in the Madhumita Shukla murder case. The son too is an accused in the murder case of his wife Sara. Amanmani has been nominated to contest from his father's traditional seat in Maharajgunj district in eastern UP.

Mincing no words, Akhilesh made clear his displeasure on the distribution tickets by the party with uncle Shivpal at the helm of affairs.

"You know my views on this issues. I have given up all my rights regarding ticket distribution," said the chief minister speaking to reporters after the inauguration of his new office right opposite the state assembly. Earlier, the UP CM had also opposed the merger of Quami Ekta Dal led by mafia don Mukhtar Ansari into SP.

This latest public demonstration by the CM only underscores the cold war within SP's first family which was triggered last month by the removal of a chief secretary seen to be close to Akhilesh's uncle and senior minister Shivpal.

The removal triggered a series of events which led to Akhilesh stripping his uncle Shivpal of key ministerial portfolios.

Mulayam Singh, the party patriarch, had to then intervene to call a temporary truce between the warring factions.

Subsequent developments also indicated Mulayam was miffed with son Akhilesh trying to assert himself within the organisation and government. Elevation of RS MP Amar Singh as general secretary was seen as a decision to undercut Akhilesh in the current power struggle.

Akhilesh however has held on steadfast to his position, even as he attempts to build a new narrative both for himself and his party.

But to bring about a paradigm transformation in a party which has its genesis in identity politics and caste consolidation is obviously time-taking and fraught with inner-party power struggles.

It is a process by which the SP - like any other political party - will formally crystallize its leadership change. The SP needs all the organisational acumen of his father and uncle to remain relevant in state politics.

But Akhilesh also knows, and knows well that the party also cannot ignore its CM for the full term.

As he shifts with his family to a new residence later this week, Akhilesh has shown he is ready for a duel.

"Wait for the trump card," was his parting shot to reporters seeking his reaction on the latest developments in the party.

First Published: October 3, 2016, 6:03 PM IST
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