The faction-ridden top leadership of the Samajwadi Party is divided again. This time the issue is appointment of a new leader of Samajwadi Party in the Rajya Sabha after incumbent Ram Gopal Yadav was expelled from the party.
Party sources said while SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav favours Beni Prasad Verma as party's new leader in the upper house, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is batting for Naresh Agarwal.
Though Reoti Raman Singh is senior-most SP representative in Rajya Sabha, his failing health made Mulayam go for Verma, a veteran who had left the party a decade ago following differences with the SP supremo.
Verma returned to the party fold earlier this year and was sent to the Rajya Sabha.
Akhilesh, the sources said, favours Agarwal as he has been a prominent speaker on behalf of the party in the upper house where he was seen as the number two after Ram Gopal Yadav.
Amar Singh, who was also sent to the Rajya Sabha by Mulayam recently, is not comfortable with Agarwal due to his proximity with Ram Gopal.
Agarwal had also favoured declaring Akhilesh as the chief ministerial candidate during the public feud in the Yadav clan.
He had been in Congress and Loktantrik Congress Party before he joined the SP.
With Winter session of Parliament beginning November 16, Yadav is likely to take a final call on the issue next week, the sources said.
The party has 19 members in the upper house and five in the Lok Sabha.