Days after Mulayam Yadav left the Samajwadi Party red-faced by questioning its move to ally with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for the Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh, his son - party chief Akhilesh Yadav - today told news agency PTI that the political decision was taken to ensure the party patriarch's "record" victory from whichever seat he may choose.
Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav had jointly announced their alliance in January, with the BSP contesting from 38 of the 80 seats in the state and the Samajwadi Party from 37. Terming this as a major climbdown for his party, 79-year-old Mulayam Yadav openly criticised his son last week over his choice of political ally. "Who is finishing the party? It's our own party people. Ours was such a strong party, and we managed to form the government on our own three times," he said.
Akhilesh Yadav sought to soothe his father's temper in an interview with PTI. "I have allied with the BSP to ensure that netaji (as Mulayam Yadav is popularly known) wins with record votes from wherever he chooses to contest the Lok Sabha polls," he said.
The former Chief Minister claimed that he had informed his father before announcing the tie-up with the BSP. "I met netaji and sought his blessings before that press meet. I even told him that we will be settling for half the seats," he told the news agency.
The seat-sharing process has already been completed, Akhilesh Yadav said. "Only the list of party nominees has to be finalised, and we have already identified them. There is no problem at all," he claimed, adding that there was no truth in reports of dissatisfied party workers.
"We are all united in our purpose. Our fight is to save the Constitution and fight those who have taken two oaths, one of the government and the other of the RSS. We decided on an alliance (in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh) because our goal is one - to remove the BJP and change the Prime Minister," he told PTI.
This was not the first time the disgruntled party patriarch embarrassed the Samajwadi Party with his remarks. During the last Lok Sabha sitting earlier this month, he had expressed the hope that Prime Minister Narendra Modi returns for another term.
(With inputs from PTI)