Ramgopal Yadav back in SP, boost for Akhilesh ahead of polls
The Samajwadi Party revoked on Thursday the expulsion of senior party leader Ramgopal Yadav, in a move to end a power struggle within Uttar Pradesh’s ruling family that threatens to undermine its chances in state elections next year. The turf war has pitted chief minister Akhilesh Yadav against his uncle Shivpal, virtually splitting down the middle a party Akhilesh’s father and patriarch Mulayam Singh is struggling to hold together.
Ramgopal, Mulayam’s first cousin who backs Akhilesh, was expelled for six years on October 23 for alleged anti-party activities.
“Yeh toh hona hi tha; party mein wapsi hai Netaji ki kripa hai; Netaji kabhi mere khilaaf nahin the (This was expected. I am back because of Netaji, he was never against me),” news agency ANI quoted Ramgopal as saying. Mulayam is popularly known as Netaji.
Ramgopal’s return is seen by many as a victory for the chief minister who has been at loggerheads with Shivpal over control of the party and the choice of candidates for next year’s election.
The 70-year-old leader’s reinstatement was ordered by Mulayam, who had also signed off on his expulsion. Ramgopal will continue as the party’s general secretary and spokesperson, and will be part of the party’s central parliamentary board, the order said.
While announcing his expulsion, Shivpal alleged that Ramgopal was conspiring with the BJP to weaken the Samajwadi party and tarnish the state government’s image.
Responding to Thursday’s announcement, Shivpal said, “…I have said it earlier as well that Netaji’s decision is the last decision and we will always support his decision.”
Ramgopal represents the party in the Rajya Sabha.