LUCKNOW: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav was today unanimously elected Leader of the SP Legislature Party in both the Houses of the Uttar Pradesh Legislature, at a meeting of party legislators.
SP veterans Azam Khan and Shivpal Singh Yadav were conspicuous by their absence from the meeting.
At the meeting of SP MLAs and MLCs, the former chief minister was unanimously elected as the combined leader of the party in both the state Assembly and Council, SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary said.
Besides, Akhilesh was also authorised to pick the leader of the party in the Legislative Council, he added.
Akhilesh is a member of the Upper House, where senior SP leader Ahmed Hasan leads the party.
Akhilesh had yesterday nominated seniormost party MLA Ram Govind Chaudhary as the leader of the SP in the Assembly, paving the way for his becoming the LOP in the Assembly.
Both Azam Khan and Shivpal Singh Yadav, who were strong contenders for the post of LOP in the Assembly but failed to find favour with Akhilesh, gave a miss to today's meeting.
Commenting on the choice of Chaudhary for the key post, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) accused the SP of "acting under BJP's pressure" to deny senior leader Azam Khan the position.
"SP acted under BJP's pressure to deny the position of LOP to a dynamic and strong leader like Azam Khan, which could have posed problems for them in the legislature," state RLD chief Masood Ahmed alleged.
"Had Khan been made the Leader of Opposition, he would have retained his government bungalow and there would also have been no question on his Maulana Jauhar University in Rampur. So, BJP exerted pressure on Netaji (Mulayam Singh) to stop it," he added.
RLD has one MLA in the 403-member state Assembly.