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With rifts settled, Akhilesh stakes claim to form new govt

Last updated on: March 10, 2012 14:40 IST

With rifts settled, Akhilesh stakes claim to form new govt

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow

After tiding over the teething troubles over his succession followed by his formal anointment by emerging as  the unanimous choice of Samajwadi Party MLAs, Akhilesh Yadav's next destination on Saturday was Raj Bhawan, where he staked claim to form the next Uttar Pradesh government.

Akhilesh will create history of sorts on March 15 when he is sworn in as the 33rd chief minister of the country's most populous state. He will be the youngest chief minister of UP, exactly a year younger than Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati when she rode on to the prized office for the first time in 1995.

Akhilesh gave a formal letter to UP Governor B L Joshi around 1.45 pm.

Clearly as a part of the party's strategy, the chief minister designate had beside him the two SP bigwigs -- Shiv Pal Yadav and Azam Khan -- both of whom were known to have been the key stumbling blocks in Akhilesh's ride to the seat of power.

 

Interestingly, it were these two leaders, who obviously at Mulayam's behest agreed to propose and second the nomination of Akhilesh at the meeting of newly-elected party MLAs earlier in the day.

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While Akhilesh's name was proposed by Azam Khan, who was understood to have initially refused to work as a minister under his mentor Mulayam Singh Yadav's 38- year old son, it was uncle Shiv Pal Yadav, who too considered it demeaning to be a minister under his young nephew.

Insiders claim that while Shiv Pal's bickering was contained during the family's reunion during Holi in their traditional home in Saifai, Azam Khan was mollified by Mulayam himself during a one-to-one meeting in Lucknow on Friday.

While Azam was stated to have agreed to don the mantle of UP assembly speaker, Shiv Pal was believed to have been cajoled to replace Akhilesh in the Lok Sabha by contesting a by-election from Kannauj which Akhilesh is expected to vacate to get into the state legislature.

However, when it came to speaking to the media both denied having accepted their respective offers.

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Image: Akhilesh Yadav with Azam khan


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Yet, when the two emerged from the inner quarters of Raj Bhawan, they were flanking Akhilesh.

And what made it even more clear that the two "uncles"  had finally fallen in line with the wishes of their mentor, was when Akhilesh did not beat around the bush on being asked whether these two heavy-weights of the party would be part of his cabinet.

"Why not," came the prompt reply from Ahhilesh when a scribe threw this million dollar question.

Sure enough, the day's events have made it loud and clear that it was Mulayam, who was lived up to his image of the real "netaji" and that he alone still calls the shots in the Samajwadi Party.




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