SP convention kicks off today with an eye on forming third front

Tuesday

The father-son duo of Samajwadi party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav arrived in Kolkata on the eve of the party's two-day national executive meeting. Other senior leaders of the party, including MP Jaya Bachhan is already in the city to attend the meeting, which will be held at Nalbon complex at Salt Lake. The only senior party leader, who is yet to arrive, is Azam Khan. He is scheduled to come tomorrow.

The meeting will begin around 9 am with about the 88-strong national executive committee giving "a final shape to the party's political agenda," said Shyamdhar Pandey, general secretary of the party's West Bengal unit. The meeting will also chalk out the electoral strategy for 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

The meet was supposed to be held on July 10 and July 11, but it was postponed reportedly because of a chill in the relations between the SP and the Trinamool Congress following the SP's backtracking on its support to Mamata Banerjee during the Presidential poll.

"This is going to be a very important meet as we are going to discuss various things including our party's strategy for the 2014 general elections,'' said Kiranmoy Nanda, SP general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP.

The Kolkata meet of the party will coincide with the completion of six months of the Akhilesh Yadav government in UP on September 15.

According to reports, Mulayam insisted on the meet to be held in Kolkata, where the party had held its convention thrice — in 1993, 1996 and 2010. The party considers Kolkata as the "nerve centre" of Indian politics, at least that is the reason offered by party general secretary Kiranmoy Nanda on choosing Kolkata as the venue. "Kolkata is the nerve centre and what is said here is listened to by people across the country,'' said Nanda.

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