Forced to climb down, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav Saturday signaled rapproachment with uncle Shivpal Yadav as he promised to support him as SP’s state unit president, a post from which he was himself removed three days back bringing the family feud in the open. At the same time, Akhilesh asserted that he should have a role in deciding candidates for next year’s Assembly polls, on a day when hundreds of people came out in his support which was disapproved of by party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
“I have myself congratulated SP’s UP unit president Shivpal Yadav after meeting him at his residence…. I will extend all my support to Shivpalji,” Akhilesh told reporters here, indicating rapproachment with his uncle with whom he was engaged in a turf war. His remarks came a day after he said he felt “very sad” when he was replaced with Shivpal as the state party president by his father Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Earlier, Akhilesh had stripped Shivpal of key portfolios, as a result of which his uncle had tendered resignation from the ministry as well as party post. Last night, after Mulayam’s intervention, Akhilesh announced that Shivpal will be given back his portfolios and Gayatri Prajapati will be reinducted as Cabinet minister, issues which had triggered an all-out war between the two.
When asked about his meeting with Shivpal, Akhilesh today said in a lighter vein, “You (reporters) can say anything. You are saying I had lunch there, but I only had tea”. About his demand on ticket distribution, the Chief Minister said, “It’s going to be my examination (in elections). I will certainly say that much to the national president whom I like.” He added that “Politics is not a game for me, it is a
serious business. I am a player…have played football and cricket also…I don’t score self goal.”
In the morning, hundreds of Akhilesh supporters reached the party office here demanding his reinstatement as the state president. Donning red caps and carrying posters of the Chief Minister and his wife Dimple Yadav, the supporters started for the party office this morning, raising slogans like “Akhilesh ko adyaksh banao” (make Akhilesh the state president), saying only “Akhilesh bhaiya could lead the party”.
The head of four frontal organisation of Samajwadi Party — Chhatra Sabha, Lohia Vahini, Yuvjan Sabha and MSY Youth Brigade, according to sources, have also written to party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav demanding that Akhilesh be reinstated as the state unit chief. About protests by his supporters, Akhilesh said, “I have appealed them not to engage in any sloganeering or use any posters or hoardings. It’s election time and everyone should go to booth level and spread awareness on the good work done by the government.”
“Wherever the youths go, the direction changes. We have a great organisation,” he said. On party’s poll prospects, Akhilesh said, “Samajwadis are at number one. They surveys are pointing to it. When we only promised to work in 2012, we got tremendous support and now we have fullfilled all the promises. We will form government again.”
Mulayam defended his decision of replacing Akhilesh with Shivpal as the party’s UP unit chief, saying his brother had worked “shoulder-to-shoulder” with him to bring the party to its current position. At a closed-door meeting, he rebuked the supporters of Akhilesh as also Shivpal for taking to the streets over a dispute involving the two.
“I will not let this happen in the party. I have worked hard to bring it to this position. This ‘tamasha’ (circus) will not be allowed,” he told the SP workers, according to sources. As soon as Mulayam arrived at the party office here, he was surrounded by party workers as well as the media. The SP supremo directly went to the auditorium where the supporters of his son Akhilesh were shouting slogans, demanding that he be reinstated as the party’s state unit president. The SP supremo lashed out at the chiefs of the party’s front organisations — Lohia Vahani, Mulayam Singh Yadav Youth
Brigade, Chhatra Sabha and Yuvjan Sabha — and asked them not to indulge in such protests and instead, work “on the ground” to strengthen the party.
“We have been asked to work at the booth-level to strengthen the party. Netaji (Mulayam) told us that while the BJP was actively working in the state, we were involved in staging protests and asked us to shun such activities,” a youth leader told PTI.
Earlier, before meeting the SP chief, Mulayam Singh Yadav Youth Brigade president Mohd Aibad said, “We have conveyed our feelings to Netaji that we (all the youth front organisations) will not be able to work with anyone except Akhilesh. We want him back as the party’s state president. The youth is feeling dejected after his removal. They are depressed and even ready to immolate themselves for him (Akhilesh).”
MLCs Rajpal Kashyap, Anand Bhadauria and Sunil Singh Sajan, all of whom had, in the past, held posts in the SP’s front organisations, were also seen raising slogans in Akhilesh’s favour. “Netaji, on many occasions, has said that the youth should lead. We want him to bring back Akhileshji, who is the undisputed leader of the youth and the poor and who has done a lot for the development of the state,” Kashyap said.
During the protests, supporters of Akhilesh were also seen burning posters of Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh. Mulayam left the party office after meeting the party workers, without talking to the media. Meanwhile, BJP attacked Akhilesh over the “Samajwadi Party drama” and said the Chief Minister should resign as he is “not able” to take his decisions on his own.
Congress also took a jibe at the tussle in the “Samajwadi pariwar”, saying that despite giving full attention to the “law and order of the family, instead of the state”, things (in the family) have gone out of hands.