Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Friday said there are no differences between his brother Shivpal Yadav and son and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav as he attempted to end a feud that has shaken the party months before the crucial state assembly polls.
“It is election time, we should all come together and work. There is no fight between Akhilesh and Shivpal,” the SP chief said while addressing the party’s supporters. “Samajwadi Party is a family, there are no differences in the party... Akhilesh will not defy my word,” he added.
Sources said Mulayam rejected Shivpal’s resignation, who had stepped down from party posts and the state cabinet on Thursday, after meeting him in the morning. He held the meeting at his residence to thrash out a solution to the ongoing power struggle between Akhilesh and Shivpal.
Akhilesh had rejected Shivpal’s resignation from the cabinet after a brief meeting with him on Thursday night.
Pointing out that workers and supporters of the party were worried about the unfolding events within the party, Mulayam said that Akhilesh would meet his uncle Shivpal.
As party workers raised slogans in favour of Shivpal, the SP chief shouted them down and said they should remain quiet while he was speaking.
He also reversed the decision of his chief minister son, announcing that former minister Gayatri Prajapati, who is considered close to Shivpal, will be reinstated in the government. Prajapati was sacked by Akhilesh on Monday over charges of alleged corruption.
On his part, Akhilesh said Mulayam’s decision on all issues will be the final one.
“If there is some issue, Netaji will find a solution and everyone will accept it. Netaji is my father and also his (Shivpal’s) brother. He will settle the issue,” Akhilesh said while addressing a function organised by a private television channel.
The CM added that ‘Netaji’ and he had decided to keep an eye on outsiders an indication towards the party’s Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh, whose alleged role in the crisis is also under the scanner.
“We will not allow any outsider to interfere in the affairs of the party and the family,” he said.
The chief minister also indicated he would accept Mulayam’s decision to reinstate Prajapati but reiterated that action would be taken against SP leaders if they were found involved in land grabbing.
Show of strength
After spending most of the night outside the 7, Kalidas Marg residence of the former minister, supporters of Shivpal shouted anti-Akhilesh slogans on Friday demanding that Akhilesh should touch Shivpal’s feet as a nephew and apologise for the humiliation he heaped on their leader.
The protesting supporters also demanded Shivpal that should be retained as the state president and all departments be restored to him. Many leaders wept openly and also threatened to immolate themselves if their demands were not met.
Dileep Singh ‘Babloo’, 32, a zila panchayat member from Etawah, led a dharna outside Shivpal’s residence. His supporters shouted slogans saying, “Ramgopal ko kinarey karo (Sideline Ramgopal Yadav) and “Netaji, gaddi sambhalo (Mulayam Singh Yadav, take over as CM)”.
Prajapati – whose sacking by Akhilesh and Shivpal’s nephew on Monday is said to have triggered the crisis – came to meet Shivpal at his residence.
The two later came out to greet the supporters. Addressing his supporters, Shivpal asked them to march to the party headquarters.
Several ministers, as well as MLAs who are considered as Shivpal loyalists, thronged to meet him. On Thursday night, state ministers Raghuraj Pratap Singh, Indrajit Kori, Shivendra Singh and Ranvijay Singh were spotted at Shivpal’s residence along with some party legislators.
The show of support 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 – who held a clutch of important departments – quit the government as well as his position as the 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.
The late-night development came after a day of separate meetings between party patriarch Mulayam, Shivpal and Akhilesh.
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.
(With inputs from agencies)