A series of meetings failed to throw up a solution for the beleaguered Samajwadi Party (SP) as the warring factions refused to back down on Friday, leaving the ruling party staring at a split a month ahead of the assembly polls.
Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav twice called press conferences within two hours but cancelled them at the last minute, adding to the confusion and drama over the bitter power struggle that has pitted the once-powerful satrap against his chief minister-son Akhilesh Yadav.
Both factions are claiming to be the real face of the SP and have staked claimed to the party’s poll symbol, the bicycle.
Elections to the 403-member assembly will be held in seven phases beginning February 11 and the SP is expected to face a tough fight from the BJP, Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress.
Sources said Mulayam and his younger brother Shivpal -- whose naming as the state SP president replacing Akhilesh triggered the crisis – have held over 40 hours of talks in three days. This week, Akhilesh took over as SP president in a coup against his father, leaving the senior Yadav with a handful of leaders with him.
- Sources said Mulayam Singh Yadav and his younger brother Shivpal Yadav have held over 40 hours of talks in three days amid a crisis in Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Yadav family.
- Senior minister Azam Khan and two of Mulayam’s apolitical brothers -- Abhayram and Rajpal – have tried to play peace-makers but without any success.
- The first signs of a possible truce appeared when Shivpal reached Akhilesh’s residence in the morning. But he left within five minutes and it was not clear whether he met the chief minister.
Senior minister Azam Khan and two of Mulayam’s apolitical brothers -- Abhayram and Rajpal – have tried to play peace-makers but without any success.
The first signs of a possible truce appeared when Shivpal reached Akhilesh’s residence in the morning. But he left within five minutes and it was not clear whether he met the chief minister.
Sources said the Akhilesh camp showed no indication of conceding any ground despite feelers that Shivpal will quit as state president while Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh will give up SP membership.
Akhilesh has been particularly critical of Amar Singh’s return to the party and has often referred to the MP as the “outsider” responsible for the upheaval.
“Outsiders don’t hurt, our own hurt us. When we fight with our own, we end up in dust” -- Amar Singh
However, Amar Singh’s offer to leave the party was opposed by Mulayam who is said to have decided to call a press conference to announce a split in the SP, sources said.
“Outsiders don’t hurt, our own hurt us. When we fight with our own, we end up in dust,” Amar Singh was quoted as saying by a TV channel on Friday.
“(The) chief minister was only four years of age since when Shivpal Yadav fostered him, took care of his education. I too played a role in his personal life,” Singh added, referring to Akhilesh’s marriage with Dimple, a Lok Sabha member.
He, however, indicated that the Akhilesh camp may have won the numbers game to keep the party poll symbol.
“Political standing does not lie in numbers. A man’s political personal is his standing”.
The Election Commission has asked both factions to prove their strength by submitting signed affidavits from MLAs and members of the legislative council. UP has a bicameral legislature.
Ramgopal Yadav, who has backed Akhilesh in the power struggle, said they have collected the signatures of 212 of the 229 MLAs, 56 of the 68 MLCs, 15 of the 24 MPs and a majority of the 5,000 delegates.