Mulayam-Akhilesh face off in presidential poll

Croak

Mulayam-Akhilesh face off in presidential poll
Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Akhilesh Yadav and his father and SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav seem to be heading for yet another face off in the forthcoming presidential poll.

According to the SP sources here, Akhilesh was not in favour of extending support to the NDA's nominee in the event of a contest for the president's post.

Mulayam, sources said, had assured senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh and Venkaiya Naidu, when they met the former, that he would support the NDA nominee provided he was not a hardcore Hindutva leader.

Akhilesh, however, has made it clear that he was firm with the non-NDA opposition on the issue. ''There is no question of supporting the NDA candidate,'' said a senior SP leader and a close aide of Akhilesh here.

The leader said that his party was for a consensus candidate. ''We will support the opposition nominee in the event of a contest,'' he added.

Although the SP leader chose not to comment on Mulayam's reported assurance to the NDA leaders on this issue, he claimed that the entire party leadership was behind Akhilesh.

He also said that the party leaders would speak to Mulayam try to persuade him to back the opposition nominee in the presidential polls.

Akhilesh had also recently indicated that his party's alliance with the Congress would continue. SP and Congress had fought the recent assembly polls in an alliance though it failed to click.

SP currently has five members in Lok Sabha and 18 in the Rajya Sabha. Its strength in the UP assembly is 47.

According to the SP leaders, there could be another face-off between Akhilesh and Mulayam on the issue. The efforts to re-unite the father-son duo by some senior party leaders had not yielded any positive results in the past.