The Samajwadi Party (SP) on Saturday revoked a controversial decision to merge a party floated by a jailed gangster after chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s categorical announcement that the ruling party does not “want such people”.
The SP parliamentary board which took the decision also decided to re-induct secondary education minister Balram Yadav, sacked by Akhilesh for facilitating the merger that had drawn flak in the poll-bound state.
“Mukhtar Ansari will not be welcome in the party. We don’t want such people in the party,” Akhilesh said at a function, publicly venting his unhappiness on the merger proposal with the Qaumi Ekta Dal (QED).
Ansari, an MLA from Mau, is in jail as an accused in a murder case. Ansari’s brother Sigbatullaha is also an MLA of his party, founded in 2010.
Soon after the chief minister’s remarks, the party parliamentary board officially said no to the merger.
“There will be no merger of Qaumi Ekta Dal in the Samajwadi Party...this has been decided at the parliamentary board meeting,” SP national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav told newspersons after the meeting of the party’s highest policy-making body.
The announcement of the merger on June 21 by cabinet minister Shivpal Yadav, brother of Akhilesh’s father and party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, had started a tug-of-war in the family.
Besides sacking Balram, Akhilesh is also understood to have been upset with prisons minister Balwant Ramoowalia, who had reportedly ordered Ansari’s transfer from Agra prison to Lucknow jail.
Akhilesh, however, ruled out any feud in the party, especially with Shivpal Yadav.
“There can be difference of opinion between two individuals in the party…(but) he will always be my chacha (uncle).”
The SP was hoping that the merger will help it tap the Muslim vote bank in eastern Uttar Pradesh especially in Ghazipur, Mau and Varanasi.
But the merger announcement gave fresh ammunition to the opposition parties to pillory the ruling party, saying it showed the “sheer desperation” of the SP.
Akhilesh had taken a similar tough stand on the inclusion of mafia-turned-politician DP Yadav before the 2012 elections.
The SP parliamentary board also approved a rath yatra by Akhilesh for the 2017 assembly elections.
(With agency inputs)