- Mulayam Singh Yadav was non-committal last week about son Akhiklesh
- Today, he confirms Akhilesh is party's choice for Chief Minister
- Father and son have been feuding over relative Shivpal Yadav's influence
In a letter received on Sunday , the 76-year-old was also warned by cousin Ram Gopal Yadav that if their Samajwadi Party collects fewer than 100 of Uttar Pradesh's 403 seats, "you alone would be held responsible."
Today, Mulayam Singh announced that son Akhilesh is the party's presumptive Chief Minister.
The declaration is Mulayam Singh's newest attempt to end a tug-of-war for power between Akhilesh, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, and older brother Shivpal Yadav, who is a cabinet minister. So far, he has leaned towards his brother, choosing as recently as last week to remain vague about who his party would pick as its chief ministerial candidate.
Akhilesh has been championed by Ramgopal Yadav, a long-time duelist with Shivpal Yadav, who is Mulayam Singh's favourite of four brothers.
Ramgopal, on the other hand, has ascended to the top of Akhilesh's cohort in recent years.
A few weeks ago, Shivpal Yadav trumped the Chief Minister's clearly-stated objections and annexed a small political party headed by a former criminal because it has a strong hold over Muslims, who form 18 percent of the state's population.
But, Ram Gopal Yadav wrote to Mulayam Singh over the weekend, "Akhilesh is undoubtedly the most popular leader of the state and under him, Uttar Pradesh has seen unprecedented development projects. If the party has to win the election, Akhilesh must be declared its Chief Ministerial candidate."
Mid-September, Shivpal Yadav was picked by Mulayam Singh to replace the Chief Minister as party president in the state. That gave Shivpal Yadav license to pick candidates for the election, and sidelined Akhilesh Yadav, who retaliated by taking away key ministries from his uncle, who then quit the government and party posts.
Then, too, Mulayam Singh's ministrations resulted in a truce. Shivpal Yadav is back as a minister and Akhilesh Yadav has been told he will play an important role in selecting who runs for election.
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