Former SP MP Raghuraj Shakya, who is considered a Mulayam loyalist, has joined the morcha along with hundreds of his supporters.
Lucknow: Within 10 days of announcing the formation of the Samajwadi Secular Morcha (SSM), senior Samajwadi leader Shivpal Yadav has begun getting support from disgruntled elements in the parent Samajwadi Party.
Former SP MP Raghuraj Shakya, who is considered a Mulayam loyalist, has joined the morcha along with hundreds of his supporters. Kamal Yusuf Malik , who had joined Peace Party and then the BSP after quitting the SP, is now back with Shivpal Yadav’s morcha. He has resigned from the BSP.
Ateeq Ahmad, mafia don and former SP MP, is yet another leader set to join the morcha. He fell out with SP president Akhilesh Yadav after he was denied a ticket for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Kanpur even though his name was declared by Shivpal Yadav, then the state unit chief.
Ateeq Ahmad is now lodged in Deoria jail and he confirmed to reporters during a recent court hearing that he would support Mr Shivpal Yadav.
If sources are to be believed, some more “disgruntled” elements from the SP will join Mr Shivpal Yadav soon. Former SP minister Sharda Shukla, who had switched over to the RLD to fight the 2017 Assembly polls after being denied a ticket by Akhilesh Yadav, is also in touch with Shivpal Yadav and may announce his joining the morcha in a week.
Another former SP minister Shadab Fatima, who has been sidelined in the Akhilesh era, is also trying to make a comeback with the morcha.
Sources in the Shivpal camp said several SP leaders who were apprehensive that their seats may go to other parties in the alliance had expressed a desire to contest on the morcha’s banner. “Mr Akhilesh Yadav does not interact with party leaders, except a chosen group. Senior leaders are naturally feeling neglected and since they remain ideologically bound to socialist principles, the morcha seems a good alternative”, said one of the “disgruntled” leaders.
A close aide of Shivpal Yadav, meanwhile, claimed that four MPs and MLAs from the BJP were in touch with Mr Shivpal Yadav. “Two BJP MPs who feel that they will be denied tickets have sent feelers to Mr Shivpal Yadav, They want to join the morcha and contest the Lok Sabha elections. Two legislators, who are keen to contest the general elections, have also expressed willingness to join the morcha”, he added.
Mr Shivpal Yadav, on the other hand, is busy touring various district and plans to hold a massive rally in Lucknow in October, after which he will flag off the election campaign of his morcha.