LUCKNOW: Ending speculations and intra-party squabble over ticket distribution, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav announced a list of 325 candidates for 2017 assembly elections. The list,
which includes 176 seats where SP won in 2012 and 149 where it lost, also indicates that the party would go it alone in the forthcoming elections.
Ruling out the pre-poll alliance with any political party in the state while releasing the list to media persons in Lucknow on Wednesday, the SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav clarified that all the 325 were winning candidates and that names to the remaining 78 seats would be declared later.
“The survey for selecting winnable candidates is going on for remaining 78 seats, the names for which will be announced later,” said the SP chief.
Denying ticket to three prominent ministers including Ram Govind Chaudhary (Minister for Basic Education and Child Nutrition), Pawan Pandey (Minister of state with Independent Charge for Entertainment Tax) with Arvind Singh Gope (Minister for Rural Development), all supposedly close to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, the SP chief, in a political posturing, has retained the names of mafia don-turned politician Atiq Ahmad from Kanpur Cantt and another mafia don Mukhtar Ansari’s brother Sigbatullah Ansari from Mohammadabad despite Akhiesh’s known opposition to tainted faces in the party.
It may be recalled that state cabinet minister Pawan Pandey was penalised and expelled from the party for assaulting party MLC Ashu Malik in front of party workers when the SP family feud was at its peak in October.
Even after being sacked from the party, Pawan Pandey continued to be the minister in Akhilesh’s cabinet. But now the SP chief has replaced him by his cousin Ashish Pandey alias Deepu Pandey on Ayodhya seat.
Replying to a question over Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s candidature in the Assembly polls, Mulayam said: “Akhilesh will contest on which ever seat he wants.” However, the other prominent names in the list include SP state unit chief Shivpal Yadav from Jaswant Nagar, Mohammad Azam Khan (Minister for Urban Development) from Rampur, controversial Minister Gayatri Prajapati from Amethi and former minister & senior Samajwadi Party leader Ambika Chaudhary from Phephna seat in Balia district.
Reiterating that winnability had been the criteria for selection of candidates, the SP chief said around 4,200 party workers had applied for ticket.
“We have given tickets to the winning candidates on the basis of constituency-wise survey which the party had conducted,” Mulayam said adding that those who could not get ticket this time would be compensated and duly honoured later.
Closing the chapter of Akhilesh being the CM face of the party which is going into the polls under his leadership, the SP chief scoffed at the perception by saying that Samajwadis did not have the tradition of declaring the CM candidate in advance.
“The legislature party will elect its leader after the elections,” he said. Responding to queries over Akhilesh’s list of 403 candidates handed over to him three days back, Mulayam said that as many candidates from different lists as possible were accommodated.
Earlier, the SP chief attacked Centre over demonetisation saying that the BJP was trying to divert people’s attention from main issues as it had failed to fulfil all its promised made during 2014 Lok Sabha elections.