FOR THE first time since SP’s drubbing in the state polls, party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav will attend a “show of strength” on August 15, to be organised in the Yadav bastion of Etawah by his brother Shivpal Yadav’s loyalists, who have either been expelled from the party or sidelined by Akhilesh Yadav during the last one year.
The organisers of the event claimed that an invitation has been sent to SP national president Akhilesh, but it was uncertain if he will turn up.
The organisers are members of the Etawah unit of ‘Mulayam ke Log’ — an outfit set up after Akhilesh removed Mulayam from the post of the SP national president following a feud in the family and the party on January 1. Shivpal was also sacked as the state SP president.
Mulayam’s decision to address the rally comes a few days after he removed four senior leaders from the Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Trust. All four, who are close to Akhilesh, have been replaced by Shivpal’s loyalists.
Former SP Etawah president Sunil Yadav, who was removed from the post after Akhilesh appointed Naresh Uttam as the state party president, said: “Local SP workers have been taking out Shraddhanjali Yatra in Etawah city for the last 16 years on Independence Day. Shivpalji has always been the chief guest at the event. This year, Netaji (Mulayam) will be the chief guest and he will also address a grand public meeting.”
This will be Mulayam’s first public meeting after the elections, he added.
Sunil Yadav, a founder member of Mulayam ke Log, said a huge gathering is expected at the rally. Shivpal will flag off the Shraddhanjali Yatra, he said.
Asked about the rally in Etawah, SP MLC and Akhilesh loyalist, Udaiveer Singh, said: “SP will have no problem if any non-political organisation holds any such programme.”
This comes days before Akhilesh is likely to be officially elected as the national president for five years in the SP national convention in September. “So far, Netaji had been elected as the national president unopposed. But he used to be elected for a term of only three years. Now, the party constitution has been changed and the next president will be in office for five years,” said a leader close to Mulayam.