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Mulayam Singh Yadav declared Akhilesh CM candidate, Akhilesh rushes father

Lucknow: A day after Mulayam Singh Yadav extended an olive branch to his rebellious son Akhilesh, saying he would be the next Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh if Samajwadi Party retains power, the UP Chief Minister on Tuesday visited his father.

The two factions had escalated their fight in the Election Commission for the ‘cycle’ symbol on Monday. “Akhilesh will be the next Chief Minister. Our party is completely united. There is no question of the party breaking up,” Mulayam said on Monday afternoon.

The surprise statement came on a day when the factional war in the Samajwadi Party escalated with the Akhilesh camp seeking an early decision on the disputed party symbol while the embattled SP patriarch asserted that he was still the party chief.

Before the factional dispute reached the Election Commission with the two sides claiming majority support of delegates and elected representatives, Mulayam had refused to anoint Akhilesh as the party’s chief ministerial candidate, saying the new MLAs would choose their leader.

However, on Monday, he said, “We will very soon tour the entire UP to send out a message of unity. All the confusion that was there is ending. Akhilesh will be the next CM.”

Mulayam and his confidantes Amar Singh and Shivpal Yadav had met top EC officials to claim majority support in the party. Though the Mulayam camp did not submit any fresh documents, it asserted he was still the SP chief and had legal claim over the party and its symbol.

Mulayam also told the commission that the convention called by the Akhilesh Yadav camp on January 1 was “unconstitutional” as Ram Gopal Yadav, who had convened the meet, had been expelled from the party on December 30, 2016.

When asked about Mulayam’s remarks that “one person” is behind the feud in SP, Ram Gopal refused to comment.