The fissures within the Samajwadi Party have deepened on Monday, with the party virtually splitting into two factions — those supporting Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and ones behind Shivpal Yadav. Supporters from both camps came to blows outside the party headquarters in Lucknow, where party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav called for a meeting of all the present and former party MLAs, MPs and key functionaries.
Speaking at the meeting, Mulayam said he was saddened by the rift within the Samajwadi Party as he had worked hard, facing lathi blows and jail time in the past, to bring the party to its present level. “Instead of fighting our weaknesses we are fighting amongst ourselves. Jo bahut ucchal rahein hai agar baat aayi to ek laathi bhi nahin seh paaenge (Those who are overexcited at the moment, can’t even bear the pain of one lathi blow),”said Mulayam.
In an indirect reference to son Akhilesh, Mulayam said that one cannot be a leader if they cannot stand criticism. “If you can’t face criticism, you can’t be a leader,” said Mulayam.
Mulayam appeared to have sided with his brother Shivpal over son Akhilesh in the internal struggle as he lavished praise on the party state president. “I will never forget the work Shivpal has done for me and Samajwadi Party. Drunkards, goons have been added to the party. You get some power and it goes to your head. Shivpal Yadav is leader of the masses,” he said.
Amar Singh also found mention in Mulayam’s speech, when the party supremo said that he can never leave his brother Shivapal and his former close aide. “I can’t leave Amar Singh or Shivpal Yadav. All of Amar Singh’s sins are forgiven,” Mulayam said.
Earlier, Akhilesh denied that he would be forming a new party and offered to resign if Mulayam so desires. He broke down during his speech and said that he was hurt when Amar Singh allegedly said he would be replaced as chief minister by November. However, Shivpal claimed that Akhilesh told him he would launching a new party.
The ongoing turf war within the Samajwadi Party came to the fore once again with Akhilesh on Sunday sacking his uncle Shivpal and three Cabinet ministers, considered close to him. Shivpal quickly responded by expelling Rajya Sabha MP Ram Gopal Yadav, who is in the Akhilesh camp, for six years from the party.
Samajwadi supremo Mulayam Singh, however, remained silent through out the day, and told reporters on Sunday evening that “whatever I have to say, I will say tomorrow”.
Meanwhile, the BJP had called for Akhilesh to step down or face a trust vote as his government has been allegedly reduced to a minority. On the other hand, the BSP said there is no need for a trust vote as the Samajwadi Party would crumble from within.