The ruling Samajwadi Party's grand silver jubilee celebrations on Saturday may be a prelude to the pre-poll alliance talks ahead of the UP assembly elections.
The party is all geared up for it's mega silver jubilee celebrations on scheduled to be held later in the day with prominent JD(U), RJD, and RLD leaders set to share the stage with Uttar Pradesh's first family. While the leaders' presence on the same stage is sure to give out a signal of unity, this may well serve as the right backdrop to kick-start formal talks on pre-poll alliance between these parties.
According to CNN-News18, Samajwadi Party's state party unit chief Shivpal Yadav has said that alliance talks may take place after the event, while adding that "like minded people" have come together to participate in the event.
However, Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) national president Nitish Kumar, who was part of the earlier attempts of forging a 'grand alliance' at the time of Bihar assembly polls, appeared vary of making any comments. Clarifying that SP's silver jubilee celebrations should not be taken as a prelude to pre-poll alliance talks, Nitish said it was courteous of the SP to invite people who share "similar ideological and emotional affinity to any function."
"The preparations for the historic event have been made. Samajwadi and Lohiawadi leaders will be sharing the stage with 'netaji' [Mulayam Singh Yadav]", SP state president Shivpal Yadav told reporters at party office on Friday.
Nitish, who was invited personally by Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh, will skip the silver jubilee celebrations citing the Chhath festival being celebrated in Bihar.
Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, RLD Cheif Ajit Singh, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Abhay Chautala, KC Tyagi (JD-U) and noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani are some of the prominent names to attend the event.
"With the event, SP will be formally launching its election campaign from tomorrow (Saturday)," Shivpal said, adding that its main objective was not to let BJP form government in Uttar Pradesh.
In a press conference on Thursday, the SP state unit chief had said, "After forming majority government in UP in 2017, all secular forces will unite to uproot the BJP government at the Centre."
In a bid to portray a united front ahead of the 2017 state Assembly elections, the feuding first family had come together to flag off Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's 'rath yatra' here yesterday. Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and Shivpal, with whom the Chief Minister was locked in a bitter power struggle, extended him "best wishes".
Meanwhile, Shivpal said that the entire route from SP headquarter to Janeshwar Mishra park, the venue for the silver jubilee celebrations, is dotted with hoardings and banners welcoming workers for the event.
"We are expecting a huge crowd tomorrow. The workers have already started coming to the state capital. We are expecting over 5 lakh people. The event will also pass a strong message for BJP and rival parties," convenor of the event and Cabinet minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati said.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made by police to ensure security of VVIP guests and party workers. "Besides a DIG level officer, there would be five Superintendents of Police (SP), 24 ASPs, 39 Circle Officers and a considerable number of PAC personnel as part of the security cover for the event," IG, Lucknow Zone, A Satish Ganesh said.
The SP state chief said that he also met with party supremo Mulayam Singh at his residence for the success of the event. Shivpal has also asked the district administration and police to ensure that expelled party leaders are not allowed inside the venue of the event. The SP leader was reportedly peeved by the presence of expelled leaders including MLCs Santosh Yadav Sunny, Sunil Yadav Sajan, Anand Bhadauria and others at Akhilesh's rath yatra on Thursday.
Though there is no official word from the party or administration on the matter, party sources said that Shivpal was strongly batting for restricting the expelled leaders at Saturday's event.
With inputs from PTI