Uttar Pradesh is set to get its youngest chief minister in 38-year-old Akhilesh Yadav, with the Samajwadi Party (SP) legislature party Saturday unanimously electing him as their leader.
The decision to give him the top post was finalised at an hour-long meeting of the newly elected SP legislators here Saturday.
Akhilesh’s name was proposed by senior leader Mohd Azam Khan. Akhilesh’s uncle Shivpal Yadav seconded the proposal, after which the former bowed to his father and touched his feet.
The spadework for Akhilesh’s coronation was scripted at a late night parley Friday between Mulayam Singh, Azam Khan and Shivpal Yadav.
It was at this meeting that the party supremo made “his mind clear about Akhilesh”, a close aide of Mulayam Singh told IANS.
With the newly elected party legislators already pitching for Akhilesh as chief minister and with a brute majority of 224 in the 403-seat house, leaders with a different opinion on the matter fell in line.
Both Azam Khan and Shivpal Yadav were reported to be unhappy with the decision to make Akhilesh, a youngster in the party compared to both of them, the chief minister.
“For someone who has grown in front of them, you must understand that it is not easy for anyone to see him as a boss,” said a close aide of Azam Khan. The differences were thrashed out Friday night.
An MP from Kannauj, Akhilesh is largely seen as a game changer in UP politics and credited with the massive mandate in favour of the party in the assembly polls.
An environmental engineer from Sydney University, Akhilesh was appointed state president of the SP in 2009. He slogged it out for the party in hostile situations, with Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati at the helm of affairs.
After his elevation as chief minister, Akhilesh would now quit his seat as MP from Kannauj and is likely to contest elections for the state assembly from Jaswantnagar, a seat for long held by Shivpal Yadav.
Before Akhilesh’s election as the chief minister, Mayawati was the youngest Uttar Pradesh chief minister at 39 years of age.