The Samajwadi Party temporarily suspended on Monday a national convention called by party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav on January 5, the latest round in a feud in Uttar Pradesh’s ruling party ahead of assembly elections.
In a series of tweets, SP leader Shivpal Yadav announced the meeting was suspended and asked workers to concentrate on winning the upcoming state polls.
Mulayam had called the meeting on Sunday, hours after his son and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav was elected party chief at an “extraordinary national convention”, replacing the 77-year-old.
Mulayam deemed this event – termed a virtual coup by Akhilesh -- illegal.
Akhilesh and Shivpal are locked in a bruising fight for party control that has spanned months and seen a string of tit-for-tat sackings and conflicting poll candidates list, plunging the SP in disarray.
Sunday’s convention – called by a faction backing Akhilesh -- also called for Shivpal and parliamentarian Amar Singh’s removal.
Mulayam removed three of his top leaders – vice-president Kiranmoy Nanada, national general secretary Ramgopal Yadav and MP Naresh Agarwal – for attending Sunday’s convention and siding with Akhilesh.
A brawl broke out in central Lucknow on Sunday evening as Akhilesh and Shivpal factions fought for control of the party office. Mulayam has already moved the election commission to retain the party symbol and other formalities.
But the shelving of the national convention might mean a cooling down of hostilities, especially after an overwhelming majority of party legislators and workers were seen to be backing Akhilesh.