The turf war in the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh deepened Thursday when Ram Gopal Yadav, party general secretary and cousin of Mulayam Singh Yadav, endorsed Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s remark that “outsiders” were interfering in party affairs. He said Mulayam Singh was being “misled” by being told he was being challenged.
Ram Gopal, who met Akhilesh in Lucknow, said the SP leadership made a “mistake” even if “unintentional” by removing and not seeking the resignation of Akhilesh from the post of state party president. He said the Chief Minister would have quit the party post had his resignation been sought.
“Kehte istifa de dijiye, chunav aa raha hai… adhyaksh ka kaam yeh karenge aur aap chief minister hain hi… koi problem hi nahin thi…us chakkar mein misunderstanding ho gai (He could have been asked to step down in view of the approaching elections. He could have been told you are the CM, he (Shivpal) will perform the duties of the president. There would have been no problem. But it led to a misunderstanding),” he said.
Two days ago, Mulayam Singh appointed brother Shivpal as the state unit chief, prompting Akhilesh to divest the latter of key ministerial portfolios.
Ram Gopal said “some people” with “no concern” for the interests of the party and with “no association” to the party were “taking advantage” of Mulayam Singh’s “simplicity” and causing damage.
He said “one such person” had got appointed a state in-charge (Shivpal) of the party though there was no such provision. He said party workers and leaders want action against “that person” but any action will be taken once “limits are crossed”. He did not take names but party insiders said he could have been referring to Amar Singh whose return to the party has been credited to Shivpal.
To a reporter’s query whether action was being contemplated against a ‘Mulayamwadi’ — Amar Singh has often called himself that — Ram Gopal said: “There is nothing like Mulayamwadi. One who is not Samajwadi, how can he be Mulayamwadi.” He said it is “not unnatural” if the Chief Minister of a state like Uttar Pradesh takes some decisions on his own. “It is natural and he should take decisions,” he said.
Asked if the ministerial portfolios will be returned to Shivpal, he said that decision will have to be taken by Mulayam Singh. On the sacking of two ministers by Akhilesh, Ram Gopal said, “Netaji ne hi nikalwaya (Mulayam Singh had them removed).”
Meanwhile, Shivpal, who also reached Lucknow, received a rousing reception at the airport from party workers who chanted “Shivpal tum sangharsh karo, hum tumhare saath hain”. He told reporters he too was removed from the post of state party resident in the same manner when Akhilesh replaced him. He said he had accepted the decision.