Nitish Kumar's absence is likely to be a dampener, as he is seen as a big influence on Kurmi voters, which the SP wants to consolidate on its side.
"Meetings happened with Netaji. Na humse poocha gaya hai (The matter hasn’t reached me, I haven’t been consulted)," he said on alliance.
An SP leader said a grand alliance will consolidate backward and minority votes in UP and help the party come back to power in 2017.
SP sources said that Mulayam Singh had asked Shivpal to be present for the flag off of the Rath Yatra on November 3, to send out a signal of unity to cadres.
The CM got a resolution passed at the meeting, where the MLAs expressed faith in his government’s development work, to counter the Shivpal camp.
Akhilesh is believed to have said that the polls would be a referendum on his performance as CM and he should have full say in ticket distribution.
They indulged in hectic sloganeering when Shivpal started to speak. Shivpal said he always carried out Mulayam’s orders.
Though Shivpal, the younger brother of SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, had met his nephew Akhilesh to personally invite him to a meeting of SP district and city units presidents, the Chief Minister kept away.
The letter made it clear that Akhilesh Yadav was not waiting for others to join the show and will start the campaign on his own.
The SP leader played down reports of "differences" within the party, saying "Everything is all right. Netaji and Akhilesh have been taken into confidence."
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