MSY-Akhilesh Tus­sle Not Scripted: Kal­raj

Min­is­ter says RLD not a spent force in west­ern Ut­tar Pradesh

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Aman.Sharma @times­group.com

Kan­pur/Auriya: The Mu­layam Singh Ya­dav-Akhilesh tus­sle is not “scripted”, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) is not a spent force in West­ern Ut­tar Pradesh and there is no such thing as se­nior­ity in the BJP when it comes to a CM post or Ra­j­nath Singh would not have be­come one ahead of me, says Union min­is­ter Kal­raj Mishra. ET spent Mon­day with Mishra as he did a whirl­wind chop­per tour of Farrukhabad, Auriya and Kan­pur for ral­lies in seats go­ing to the polls on Fe­bru­ary 19.

At 75, the Deo­ria MP is the old­est work­horse for the BJP in this cam­paign. The age, how­ever, does not ham­per his en­thu­si­as­tic speeches or his 5:30 AM wake-up rou­tine fol­lowed by 45 min­utes of daily yoga.

Af­ter a quick break­fast of kauchauri, boiled po­ta­toes and jalebi at his Gomti En­clave res­i­dence in Luc­know while run­ning through a dozen news­pa­pers, Mishra ar­rives at the air­port. Here, he runs into BJP president Amit Shah and min­is­ter Anupriya Pa­tel in the re­served lounge — the melt­ing pot of ne­tas of var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal hues these days be­fore fly­ing out on ei­ther of the 10 chop­pers parked at the air­port. When asked if he was the most ex­pe­ri­enced CM face for BJP now as Ra­j­nath Singh had said he was not in­ter­ested in a sec­ond in­nings, he says: “It is not about be­ing a se­nior or a ju­nior leader, it is party strat­egy and a par­lia­men­tary board deci- sion. If se­nior­ity had ever counted... Ra­j­nath Singh mukhya­mantri nahi hote , main hota (Ra­j­nath would not have be­come CM in 2000, it would have been me) be­cause Iwas se­nior to him.” “The party had then asked me but I said ask Ra­j­nath Singh. So let the party de­cide now too.”

Con­trary to what his party claims, Mishra in his rally speech at Auriya says he does not be­lieve the SP fam­ily feud is scripted. “It is a fight for the chair. Akhilesh has side-lined his fa­ther. I can see the pain on Mu­layam’s face. He fought Congress tooth-and-nail and also ob­jected to the al­liance,” Mishra said.

Later, he told ET that the Mu­layam-Akhilesh fight is not pre-planned. “When you reach a big post, doubts sur­round you. Many peo­ple in­sti­gate you,” he says, re­fer­ring to Akhilesh. “It is a tus­sle for power. All maryada is gone. It is sad,” he adds. He says BJP has not done badly in Phase 1, as it is widely be­ing spec­u­lated, but ad­mits that RLD is still a force. “We are in close fight in over 40 of the 73 seats. RLD has a vote per­cent­age in West UP — but I don’t think they have hurt BJP. We have got Jat votes too. How­ever, some thought RLD is fin­ished... I don’t think so. RLD has a vote share like it had in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Our as­sess­ment is af­ter tak­ing RLD into ac­count,” Mishra says.

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