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With SP convention, Akhilesh shows he is firmly in saddle 

This was the first convention of the party since Akhilesh became its national president in January and also since the party suffered a humiliating defeat in the UP assembly polls

lucknow Updated: Sep 25, 2017 21:35 IST
Pankaj Jaiswal
Pankaj Jaiswal
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh,Samajwadi Party,Akhilesh Yadav
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav at the state convention in Lucknow.(HT Photo)

The 8th state convention of the Samajwadi Party in Lucknow on Saturday made three things clear – Akhilesh Yadav is firmly in control of the party, he will be re-elected its national president, and his uncle Shivpal Yadav has no future in the party.

This was the first convention of the party since Akhilesh became its national president in January and also since the party suffered a humiliating defeat in the UP assembly polls.

The state convention re-elected Naresh Uttam Patel the state unit president of the SP for five years. Akhilesh is set to be re-elected unopposed and unanimously.

Both the founder national chief of the party Mulayam Singh Yadav and his brother Shivpal Yadav did not attend the event. They had attended all the seven state conventions held in the past.

Addressing the event at Ramabai Ambedkar grounds, he made a scathing attack on his uncle Shivpal Yadav.

“Be cautious of the ‘banavati’ (made-up) socialists. They tried to hurt the socialist movement and also succeeded once when they saw us out of power, but from now on they will fail,” he said.

Invoking Mulayam, Akhilesh said, “Netaji is my father and it was because of him that this party was born and came this far. His blessings will remain with me to take his movement further.”

The new avatar of the Samajwadi Party saw most of the senior party leaders rallying around Akhilesh.

Azam Khan, one of the founder members and Muslim poster boy of the party, also addressed the convention.

Beni Prasad Verma, whom Mulayam had re-inducted into the party and made a member of the Rajya Sabha along with Amar Singh, also attended the convention.

This was the first time when Verma attended a party event since Akhilesh became the national president.

Akhilesh exhorted the party workers to ensure victory the Lok Sabha bypolls in Gorakhpur and Phulpur seats – vacated by chief minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya.

“We have the responsibility to save the country. If the result of the elections come in our favour, it will not only give a message for 2019 Lok Sabha polls but also for 2022 UP assembly elections,” he said.

The convention passed economic and political resolution that praised the projects and schemes of the Akhilesh Yadav government and criticised the policies and decisions of BJP governments at the Centre and in UP.

In his concluding speech, national general secretary of the party Ramgopal Yadav said: “If the BJP returns to power at the Centre in 2019 there may not be any elections in future. The country is heading towards a single party system.”

“To deal with the BJP you have to fight with them cleverly and intelligently. The present CM doesn’t know anything beyond Gorakhpur and has no work to showcase in six months of his tenure,” he said.

“The present CM (Yogi Adityanath) has not seen anything beyond Gorakhpur all his life. He doesn’t know what is going on right under his nose. Right from the day one, some ministers started corrupt practices. We must overthrow this government.”

He also exhorted the cadre to use smart phones and set up IT cells to expose BJP’s lies and counter it on the social media.

Criticising Mulayam on his stance towards ‘traitors’, SP leader Naresh Uttam said: “Netaji made a mistake. He asked thieves to steal and guards to maintain a vigil”.

Meanwhile, as Indrajeet Saroj, who left the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to join the Samajwadi Party, started speaking, Azam Khan reached up to him and planted a kiss him on his cheek. All party leaders, including Akhilesh Yadav, had a hearty laugh.

First Published: Sep 25, 2017 21:35 IST