Socialist leader Shivpal Yadav on Saturday, 9 July, said he has "decided" to vote for the NDA candidate in the presidential polls, Droupadi Murmu, and blamed Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav's "political immaturity" for allies leaving him.
Talking to reporters in Lucknow, the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) president recalled that he had earlier said he would vote for the candidate who seeks his support in the 18 July presidential polls and since Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has sought his vote, he has pledged his support to the NDA nominee for the top constitutional post.
"Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath has sought my vote and I have decided that I will vote for Murmu," Shivpal Yadav said.
"I had already said the person who will seek my vote will get it. (President) Ram Nath Kovind had twice sought my vote (during the previous presidential polls) and I had supported him," he added.
Shivpal Yadav, along with SP ally Om Prakash Rajbhar, attended a dinner hosted by Adityanath in honour of Murmu on Friday, indicating cracks in the opposition alliance led by Akhilesh Yadav.
The 'Chacha'-'Bhatija' Fall Out
Shivpal Yadav won the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls earlier in the year from his traditional Jaswant Nagar seat in Etawah on an SP ticket. But "chacha" and "bhatija" fell out with each other after the opposition camp faced yet another defeat in the hands of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Since then their relationship has been on a slide.
Apparently hinting that he has been sidelined, a visibly upset Shivpal Yadav said, "I was never called to any meeting (of the SP) and no information was given to me."
"That day (7 July), when (opposition) presidential candidate Yashwant Sinha came to Lucknow, I was not called, nor my vote was sought. I think this is not political maturity. It is because of this that the friends of the alliance are leaving it," the veteran leader added.
Keshav Dev Maurya of the Mahan Dal, which had fought the February-March Uttar Pradesh election as a partner of the opposition alliance, has already left the grouping.
The Janvadi Party (Socialist) of Sanjay Chauhan has also left the SP-led coalition.
Besides, Shivpal Yadav and Rajbhar, who heads the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), Jansatta Dal Loktantrik chief Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya and the lone Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, Uma Shankar Singh, attended the chief minister's dinner at his official residence, along with NDA leaders.
Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said, "We thank those who have come forward to support Droupadi Murmu in the presidential election and those who have not come forward, be it Akhilesh Yadav or anyone else, we appeal that they should support a tribal woman who is contesting the presidential polls for the first time."
Rajbhar, who was not invited by Yadav to the opposition leaders' meeting with Sinha, has already said he will take a call on the presidential polls on his own.
On Friday, Rajbhar had said in Mau, where his party held a meeting, that the SBSP will make public its decision on the presidential polls on July 12.
But his presence at the dinner hosted by Adityanath indicates his inclination towards the NDA nominee.
Rajbhar's party has six MLAs in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly. He had fought the Uttar Pradesh polls as a partner of the SP-led opposition grouping.
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