Mulayam Singh Yadav jumped in on Wednesday to intervene between his party’s sparring leaders Amar Singh and Azam Khan. He downplayed the differences and said he would speak to both leaders and resolve matters amicably.
“Ours is a big party and such things keep happening in a big family. Both Azam Khan and Amar Singh are senior Samajwadi leaders,” the Samajwadi Party chief said on the sidelines of an election rally.
“I am not being able to devote time to this (to solve the issue) ... The day I will get time I will speak to both the leaders and things will be resolved amicably. This (feud) will not have any bearing on the elections.”
When asked whom he would like to keep in the party, Khan or Singh, he said: “I would like to keep both of them. Both are working for the party.”
Yadav is believed to have told Singh to avoid open confrontation with Khan, who has raised the banner of revolt over the Jaya Prada and Kalyan Singh issues.
Singh, who had threatened to quit the party if Yadav failed to control Khan, hastily retracted late Tuesday. He said he was ready to face insult from Khan for the sake of the party.
This strategic retreat is being seen in party circles as temporary cessation of hostilities between the two leaders. “There is no possibility of lasting patch-up”, a leader said on the condition of anonymity.
Khan is determined to ensure the defeat of Jaya Prada — seen as Singh’s crony — from the Rampur seat. But for Yadav, the priority is Jaya’s victory. So the leadership has chalked out a different plan.
It has been trying to play the Barelvi (Sunni) versus Deobandi Muslims card in Rampur. Khan belongs to the Deobandi school of thought, a minority in the constituency. According to sources, some Sunni Muslim leaders of Rampur met Singh in Delhi to extend support to Jaya. Also, a large number of Khan’s loyalists have already shifted to the Jaya camp.
The anti-Amar Singh camp, however, is happy with the spat. “For the first time Singh is feeling heat,” said one leader.