Mulayam is angry with me not Ram Gopal, says Akhilesh
Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav again defends his uncle Ram Gopal, says he saved the party.india Updated: Jun 30, 2017 09:57 IST
His father Mulayam Singh Yadav was angry with him and not Ram Gopal Yadav, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has said, his first public admission of persisting differences that have torn apart the Samajwadi Party.
Akhilesh was speaking at a birthday celebration organised in the Yadav clan’s home turf of Saifai for Ram Gopal who turned 71 on Thursday.
Mulayam and his once-powerful younger brother Shivpal gave the event a miss. “I know why he didn’t come, he is angry with me more than anyone else,” the Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh said.
Ram Gopal, a cousin of Mulayam, sided with Akhilesh as he fought a bitter public battle for party control with his father and Shivpal.
Akhilesh snatched the party from Mulayam and got himself appointed the president in the run-up to the February-March election that ended disastrously for the SP.
Though the party didn’t split formally, the two camps fought over the election symbol that was eventually allotted to Akhilesh’s side.
Mulayam and Shivpal have blamed Ram Gopal for the feud, even accusing him of being close to the BJP, which decimated the SP to sweep to power in the India’s most populous state.
But, Akhilesh again showered praise on Ram Gopal.
“He has saved the party and its election symbol (cycle). It was under the leadership and direction of uncle (Ram Gopal) that the government was able to accomplish big tasks and development projects,” Akhilesh said.
The former chief minister also took on the Yogi Adityanath government, daring it to “match his record” by extending the Lucknow Expressway, which he got built in 23 months, to Balia in 22 months.
Seeking re-election, Akhilesh had tried an image makeover, putting development ahead of the caste and religious equations that party was known for but failed to impress the voters.
Addressing party workers and leaders, Ram Gopal asked them to take a pledge to ensure Akhilesh returned as the chief minister in 2022.