Next President of India: Samajwadi Party divided, Shivpal backs Kovind
The election for the next President of India seems to have divided the Samajwadi party further. While Akhilesh Yadav pledged support to UPA nominee Meira Kumar, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav have backed NDA's candidate Ram Nath Kovind.
Meira Kumar met Akhilesh Yadav on Friday and sought his support. Soon after the meeting, Samajwadi party spokespersons told the media that Akhilesh had asked all MPs and MLAs of the party to vote for Meira Kumar in the July 17 elections. By the end of the day, however, his uncle Shivpal Yadav declared that, at the behest of Mulayam Singh Yadav, he will back Ram Nath Kovind.
The rift in the Samajwadi party is no secret and the drubbing that the party received in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections under Akhilesh's leadership only worsened the situation. Mulayam Singh made his stand on Ram Nath Kovind as the President of India, on the day NDA announced his name as their candidate. "Ram Nath Kovind is a good candidate. I have very old relations with him. The BJP has chosen a strong candidate. The most important thing is that the BJP has a majority," Mulayam Singh Yadav had said.
On Friday Shivpal Singh Yadav made it clear that all is not well yet within the Samajwadi party. After the TMC in Tripura, Samajwadi party is the second opposition party to have split in its support to UPA and NDA candidates for the Presidential election. However, most party MLAs are likely to back Meira Kumar based on Akhilesh's pledge to support her. "Akhilesh Yadav is the party president. MLAs and MPs are bound by what he says. The party will back the candidate that he chooses," said a party source.
With the father-son duo again at loggerheads, the votes of the Samajwadi party are all set to be divided in the Presidential election. The Samajwadi party has 47 members in the state Assembly. 5 Lok Sabha MPs and 31 Rajya Sabha MPs who are part of the electoral college.