Yadav family puts up united front at Agra-Lucknow Expressway inauguration

Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Yadav family put up a united front on Monday at the inaugural of the Agra-Lucknow expressway after months of in-fighting appeared to spilt the party.

YadavFamilyFeud Updated: Nov 22, 2016 00:32 IST
M Tariq Khan
M Tariq Khan
Hindustan Times
Uttar Pradesh assembly elections,Agra-Lucknow expressway,Yadav family feud
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav (right) with Samajwadi Party leaders (left to right) Shivpal Yadav, Azam Khan and Ram Gopal Yadav at the inaugural of the Agra-Lucknow expressway in Unnao.(PTI)

Before Indian Air Force fighter jets successfully carried out manoeuvres on the Agra-Lucknow expressway, what caught people’s attention on Monday was the bonhomie the ruling Yadav family displayed at the inaugural of the expressway.

The Samajwadi Party’s state president, Shivpal Singh Yadav, and general secretary, Ram Gopal Yadav, were seen together for the first time since a feud broke out in the party in August. The two were present along with chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and SP chief, Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Ram Gopal, who was recently reinstated despite being expelled for six years, was seen in conversation with Mulayam while Shivpal sat next to urban development minister Azam Khan. Ram Gopal had been expelled based on Shivpal’s allegations of carrying out anti-party activities.

The show of unity comes just a day before the party patriarch’s 78th birthday. The feud, which threatened to irreparably split the party, had pitted Akhilesh against his uncle Shivpal and saw supporters on either sides being moved within party and government ranks. Akhilesh had even stripped his uncle of his portfolios, but later returned them all, save for one.

As the fight grew more acrimonious and public, Shivpal was supported by Mulayam, and attended all party functions at which the party president was present.

In pics: IAF’s Sukhoi, Mirage jets ‘touch down’ on Agra-Lucknow Expressway

However, on Monday, when called to speak, Shivpal, congratulated both Mulayam and Akhilesh for completing the dream project in record time; he made no mention of Ram Gopal. The SP general secretary though acknowledged Shivpal as the “maninye pradesh adhyaksh” (honourable state president) of the Samajwadi Party.

“Those who think that they can split the family and are hatching conspiracies to break the party are sadly mistaken. There are no bitter feelings, nor any differences now. The family was and is united as it was before,” said Azam Khan. None of the other leaders made any comments or references to the feud.

After the Yadav family drama played out, it was the turn of the Indian Air Force jets to dazzle the crowd.

Six fighter planes touched down at the expressway, which was inaugurated by Mulayam Singh.

This 3.3-km stretch of the 302-km expressway can be used in emergencies when military airfields are not available. Only this particular stretch can double up as a runway because it has been constructed differently from the rest of the expressway.

Thousands of villagers and onlookers took pictures and made videos from their cell phones as the fighter jets came in, skimmed the road and roared off again.

All facilities like makeshift Air Traffic Control, safety services, rescue vehicles, bird clearance parties and other requirements were put in place by the IAF.

First Published: Nov 21, 2016 21:56 IST