IN A clear signal that the tussle within the Samajwadi Party is far from over, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav met his uncle and Rajya Sabha MP Ram Gopal Yadav for over an hour at his ancestral village Saifai on Sunday. Ram Gopal had been expelled from the party seven days ago by Akhilesh’s father and party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav following allegations that he was “hand in glove with the BJP”.
It was Akhilesh’s first meeting with Ram Gopal after the expulsion. While party leaders described the meeting as a “courtesy call to convey festival wishes”, sources said that both discussed the ongoing tussle within the the party.
Ram Gopal is considered close to Akhilesh and had issued a letter in support of the Chief Minister a few hours before his expulsion from the party.
Sources said that other party leaders, including Ram Gopal’s nephew MLC Arvind Pratap Yadav, were present during the meeting. The SP’s state chief Shivpal Yadav had expelled Arvind Pratap on September 17 on charges of making derogatory remarks against Mulayam.
Shivpal, too, reached Saifai on Sunday but is unlikely to meet Ram Gopal. Mulayam is likely to visit Saifai on November 1 to greet his sister on Bhaiyya Dooj.
Sources said that Akhilesh also had lunch with Rajpal, another brother of Mulayam, at his residence and visited the house of the party supremo’s brother-in-law Ajan Singh.
Meanwhile, at least six people were reportedly injured in a stampede of those trying to meet the Chief Minister during a public contact programme held at the PWD guest house in Saifai.
However, Etawah Chef Medical Officer Rajeev Kumar Yadav said two persons had sustained minor injuries and had been provided treatment.
Officials said the incident took place when security personnel tried to open the gate to facilitate the entry of mediapersons.
Incidentally, Akhilesh supporters put up hoardings in Etawah with the slogan— “Hamara lakshya Shree Akhilesh Yadav ho mukhya mantri dobara (Our aim is to see Akhilesh as Chief Minister again)” to mark the Chief Minister’s visit. The banners, interestingly, had a white background instead of the SP’s trademark green. Sources said that some of these hoardings were put by Ram Gopal’s son and Firozabad MP Akshay Yadav.