Akhilesh Yadav today refused to confirm reports that he has decided to contest the February-March Uttar Pradesh election. He was also evasive when asked to specify the constituency for his poll debut in UP.
"I will seek the permission of the people of Azamgarh if I decide to contest the elections. I need to seek their permission because they elected me from there," said the Samajwadi Party chief.
He was replying to media questions on whether he would contest the election from a constituency in Azamgarh, where he is Lok Sabha MP.
Samajwadi Party sources reiterated earlier today that Akhilesh Yadav would fight the election but said a seat has yet to be decided. In the past month, the former Chief Minister has said on record that he will contest if the party wants him to.
He has never fought a state election.
Sources said the pressure was on the Samajwadi Party chief and former Chief Minister after the BJP's Yogi Adityanath, the incumbent Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, decided to contest the state polls for the first time.
In November, Akhilesh Yadav had told reporters he would not contest the election. But his party rushed to clarify that such a decision would be taken only by the party.
"I will not be contesting the assembly election myself," the Samajwadi MP had been quoted as saying by news agency PTI. He later revised that stance.
But this morning, reports of his UP poll debut emerged alongside those of his sister-in-law Aparna Yadav's switch to the BJP.
In 2012, when Akhilesh Yadav led the Samajwadi Party to a big victory in UP, he took over as the country's youngest Chief Minister at 38. He was a Lok Sabha MP from Kannauj at the time.
Later, he took the route of the state Legislative Council. His wife Dimple Yadav was elected unopposed from the seat he vacated, Kannauj.