Hundreds of slogan-shouting supporters of Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav gathered outside his residence in Lucknow on Friday morning, hours after his dramatic resignation from the state government dealt a blow to Uttar Pradesh’s ruling party ahead of assembly polls next year.
Former minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati – whose sacking by Shivpal’s nephew and UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday is said to have triggered the crisis -- was also seen entering the minister’s residence. The two later came out to greet Shivpal’s supporters.
Addressing his supporters, Shivpal asked them to march to the party headquarters.
Meanwhile, Shivpal’s son, Aditya Yadav, said that his father is talking party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh on the phone.
“Restore Shivpal’s honours…return all departments to him---return the SP state presidentship,” the supporters chanted after spending most of the night outside Shivpal’s residence.
The slogans came after an eventful night that saw Shivpal step out of his residence after midnight to assure his supporters and ask them to go home and sleep. “Na soyenge, na soney denge (Won’t sleep, will give sleepless night to others)” the crowd chanted.
Shivpal Yadav – who held a clutch of important departments -- quit the government as well as his position as chief of Samajwadi Party’s state unit on Thursday, an attempt to distance himself from Akhilesh with whom he has been involved in a bruising fight for influence.
Sources said Akhilesh had rejected Shivpal’s resignation from the cabinet, but the party had made no decision yet on his offer to quit as its state chief.
The late-night development came after a day of separate meetings between party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, his brother Shivpal and Akhilesh raised hopes of a truce between the uncle and nephew.
Mulayam met with the two separately to ask them to end their feuding. A meeting between the uncle and nephew lasted barely 15 minutes at the latter’s office.
Two days ago, Akhilesh stripped Shivpal of three top departments after the chief minister himself was removed as the party’s state chief and Shivpal given the post. Their differences, a badly kept secret for years, had become public over the past months.
The party’s Rajya Sabha MP, Amar Singh’s alleged role in the crisis also figured in discussions during the day, with Akhilesh’s second uncle Ramgopal Yadav and party leader Naresh Agarwal hinting at his “interference” in party matters.