The family feud within Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Samajwadi Party only turned more bitter as sacked cabinet minister Shivpal Yadav announced that party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had removed national general secretary Ramgopal Yadav from the party on allegations of colluding with BJP. The development came hours after chief minister Akhilesh Yadav sacked senior leader Amar Singh’s supporters, including his uncle Shivpal.
Sunday’s surprise decisions indicate a hardening of stands by both camps — the new and young wing of the party led by Akhilesh and the old guard represented by Shivpal and backed by RS MP Amar Singh — as the party readies to fight a tough election, battling mounting anti-incumbency.
The party’s state president Shivpal accused Ramgopal, without naming him, of colluding with the BJP, and said that Akhilesh was not able to comprehend this.
“People in the family (hinting at Ramgopal) due to fear of CBI are trying to break the party in collusion with BJP. He has met BJP leaders thrice. Communal forces are extremely divisive and out to damage the party. Akhilesh ji is not able to comprehend all this,” he said at the SP office in Lucknow.
Akhilesh had earlier announced the decision to sack Shadab Fatima, Narad Rai, Shivpal Yadav and Om Prakash Singh after meeting party legislators – roughly a month after stripping Shivpal of key portfolios and reappointing him.
At a meeting, the CM said the MP, Amar Singh, a confidante of Mulayam, was damaging the party and anyone close to him couldn’t be in the UP cabinet, legislator Vijay Mishra told Hindustan Times.
“Whosoever goes with him (Amar Singh), goes out of the party,” Akhilesh said, adding that he has “no intention of splitting the party”. “I am Netaji’s son. I will always be with him.”
Akhilesh also removed Amar Singh’s protégé and film actor Jaya Prada from the position of vice-chairperson of the UP film development corporation.
Ramgopal, an Akhilesh supporter, had issued a statement in the morning, attacking the Shivpal camp.
Datelined ‘Mumbai, 23 October, 6 am’, Ramgopal began the letter by saying: “We want that chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s leadership see the next government in UP; they want he loses come what may”.
The letter came less than 12 hours are the Samajwadi Party expelled Udaiveer Singh, a leader close to Akhilesh for anti-party activities, signalling a hardening of stand against rebels.