Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav appeared to rule out on Monday any reconciliation with his son and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, hours before the election commission decides on a name and symbol dispute between the two factions.
Speaking to party workers in Lucknow, Mulayam said he was helpless to stop his party from splitting but said he would move court if the EC decision went against him.
Uttar Pradesh’s ruling party has been rocked by a months-long feud between Akhilesh and his uncle Shivpal, backed by Mulayam.
“What can I do when my son has turned against me by playing into hands of Ramgopal Yadav?” he asked workers.
“Look my son has gone against me. I could never imagine that Akhilesh will ever do this to me.”
But despite his rhetoric, many members appeared angry and asked the 77-year-old to save the party.
Mulayam shouted back at angry workers, “What has happened to you all. Why are you behaving in this manner? If they (EC) doesn’t give us our symbol, then let’s see what symbol they give us.”
He was speaking to the party workers at the Lohia Sabhagaar, at the state headquarters of the party.
“Don’t you know how I took a stand and prevented the demolition of Babri Masjid? We were in crisis then too,” Mulayam said to his workers, most of whom were Muslims.
“I have put up the best of lawyers at EC and has argued my case at there. Now the ball is in EC’s court,” he said Mulayam when the workers shouted: “Netaji, Netaji. Party ko bachao (Mulayam, save the party).”
The state goes to the polls in seven phases beginning February 11 and analysts say its factional fight will hurt the SP.
Mulayam was accompanied by Naresh Uttam, who was appointed state party chief by Akhilesh, replacing Shivpal.
This was the first time since the feud that Mulayam came to the party office without Shivpal.
“Akhilesh is playing into the hands of Ramgopal Yadav. Ramgopal has been giving instructions to Akhilesh from Delhi over the phone,” Mulayam said.
But most workers talked amongst themselves saying that it was the other way round. “Netaji has been acting under Amar Singh’s influence,” they were unanimous.
The meeting was out of bounds for media and some workers also claimed that Mulayam also used ‘Shahjahan and Aurangzeb’ analogy to indicate his displacement by Akhilesh.
Under the shouting of restive workers, Mulayam apparently cut short his speech and left for his home after 30 minutes.
“He doesn’t know the changed ground realities,” the workers talked amongst themselves.