For Akhilesh Yadav, keeping his flock together ahead of the Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council elections seems to be an uphill task. Already battling an estranged uncle — Shivpal Yadav has written to the UP Assembly Speaker to change his seat— the Samajwadi Party chief’s troubles have been compounded by the cryptic statements of his Rampur (Sadar) MLA Azam Khan and SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar.
Azam Khan, who took the oath of MLA but did not attend the assembly session citing health reasons, met Shivpal Yadav on the first day of the session and was present in Lucknow on the second day but did not attend the house proceedings. However, Azam Khan’s son Abdullah attended some part of the budget session and even held closed-door talks with Akhilesh Yadav, which lasted for about half-an-hour.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Azam Khan said: “Till now I didn’t look at other ships, I had drawn a boundary line of my own. I should have kept ‘dua-salam’ with them and had tea with everyone. When others can have tea with each other and attend marriages, why can’t I do that? I am not looking at any other ships at the moment, I think my ship is enough for me at the moment.” On being asked if he was unhappy with Akhilesh Yadav, Azam Khan said, “A weak person like me can’t get upset with anyone.”
Sources in SP suggest that Azam Khan is seeking a ticket for his wife Tazaan Fatima for the bypoll on the Rampur parliamentary seat and his cryptic statements hinting at jumping ship may be a pressure tactic as the SP chief has not yet finalised the candidate for Rampur. The seat fell vacant after Azam Khan decided to leave it and continue as MLA.
On the other hand, during the Governor’s address at the start of the budget session in the UP Assembly, SP MLAs were creating a ruckus while the alliance partners sat quietly. All the MLAs of OP Rajbhar-led SBSP were listening to the speech silently and after the proceedings, Rajbhar openly opposed the ruckus by SP MLAs. Many assume that this behavioural change in SBSP MLAs may be part of the strategy to pressure Akhilesh Yadav as there were rumours about Rajbhar wanting to send his son to Rajya Sabha.
The nomination for 11 seats of Rajya Sabha started from May 24. According to the numbers, while BJP can send seven candidates, the quota of SP is three. However, there could be interesting equations for the remaining one seat.
The recognition of the Samajwadi Party in the Rajya Sabha is also under threat as there should be five members in the House for recognition of a party. Ram Gopal Yadav and Jaya Bachchan are the only members of the party in the Upper House right now. On the basis of the number of MLAs, SP can send three members in the upcoming elections.
If RLD’s Jayant Chaudhary goes to Rajya Sabha on one seat, then only four members of SP will remain in the House. In such a situation, the recognition of SP will end from Rajya Sabha. The recognition of a party ensures an opportunity to speak on every issue, as well as allotment of seats.