After Agra convention, Akhilesh firmly in saddle | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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After Agra convention, Akhilesh firmly in saddle

For five years, Akhilesh bore the tag of running a “government of five chief ministers”, but all that are a thing of past. The party has no factions or groups now.

lucknow Updated: Oct 06, 2017 16:55 IST
Pankaj Jaiswal
“There is no family feud within the party now. And if there is any, it will be outside the party and will not have any bearing on the SP’s agenda.”
“There is no family feud within the party now. And if there is any, it will be outside the party and will not have any bearing on the SP’s agenda.”(HT Photo)

Re-election of Akhilesh Yadav as national president of the Samajwadi Party for five years ended all speculations of the possible return of his father Mulayam Singh Yadav as the party chief.

The blessings and wishes from Mulayam and Akhilesh’s chief adversary in the party Shivpal Yadav came as a sign of softening in their stands – even if reluctantly or circumstantial.

Mulayam blessed Akhilesh over the phone while Shivpal through a tweet.

For five years, Akhilesh bore the tag of running a “government of five chief ministers”, but all that are a thing of past. The party has no factions or groups now.

SP national general secretary Ramgopal Yadav, who is often referred to as the architect of the Yadav family feud and transfer of power to Akhilesh, and the party’s Muslim poster boy Azam Khan too rallied behind him.

“Remember how there used to be demonstrations by the supporters of Prateek Yadav or Aparna Yadav demanding tickets for them. There was also a group that built pressure on Mulayam to make Akhilesh the chief minister in 2012. The party will no longer have pressure groups,” said a senior SP leader and a former Mulayam loyalist.

“There is no family feud within the party now. And if there is any, it will be outside the party and will not have any bearing on the SP’s agenda,” an Akhilesh loyalist said.

The gesture shown by Mulayam and Shivpal on Thursday hints that Akhilesh will eventually put Mulayam on a pedestal and may give Shivpal a respectable position.

However, Shivpal may have to wait for some time.

“On January 1, when Akhilesh sacked Shivpal as the state unit chief and himself took over as national president, he had said he would give his family members their due honour,” a party worker said.

Akhilesh is likely to call on Mulayam on Friday.

All the top SP leaders, including Akhilesh, had attacked Shivpal at the state convention on September 23 but did not utter a word against him in Agra.

So what is the difference now when Akhilesh has been the national president since January 1?

The difference might be minor, yet significant, according to the party’s constitution.

On January 1, Akhilesh became the president through an emergency convention while a re-election through national convention is an actual stamp on his leadership.

Ramgopal will submit the report and minutes of the Agra convention to the Election Commission in Delhi in the next two days.

Akhilesh’s struggle within the party and family may have ended but he still faces a number of challenges.

He will have to consolidate and expand the party and look for a bigger role in national politics.

The party’s slogan for Mulayam ‘Man se hai Mulayam, iradey loha hain (Soft at heart, Mulayam is a man of strong will)’ has changed to ‘Loha tap kundan bhaya (iron has transformed to gold after passing through testing times) for Akhilesh.

The party that once projected Mulayam as the future PM of the country has transferred the dream to Akhilesh as the party workers cheered – ‘Desh ka neta kaisa ho, Akhilesh Yadav jaisa ho’.

Akhilesh has blown the bugle for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Agra and winning over Mulayam and making him a star campaigner for the party will only help him.