The Akhilesh-Shivpal acrimony and efforts at a patch-up were well on display, and not just in semantics, as the two leaders shared the dais with SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and other leaders of the Janata Parivar at the party’s silver jubilee celebrations here.
Whether it was an agitated Shivpal Yadav shoving party leader Javed Abidi away from the microphone as he was praising Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, or the CM touching his uncle Shivpal’s feet after being prodded by RJD chief Lalu Prasad, the Yadav family saga was virtually being played out in presence of thousands of party activists at the Janeshwar Mishra park here.
When the event started, Akhilesh and Shivpal were given swords which they accepted smilingly. While the scene left many chuckling, Lalu stepped in and held hands of both Akhilesh and Shivpal as they posed for lensmen with the props.
Egged on by Prasad, Akhilesh touched Shivpal feet to seek his blessing who kept his hand on the CM’s head. Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda too held the hands of the warring uncle and nephew. While Shivpal, who was sacked by Akhilesh from cabinet vented out his unhappiness in his speech, the Chief Minister gave a subtle response. Pointing at Shivpal’s confidant Gayatrai Prasad Prajapati, who was sacked by him earlier, Akhilesh said, “You give me a sword but you don’t want me to use it.”
Earlier, Abidi, who is close to Akhilesh took hold of the mike and started addressing the gathering in favour of Akhilesh terming him as “future of the party”.”While you (Mulayam) are the soul of the party, Akhilesh is its vigour,” he said. However, Shivpal soon got up and went to Mulayam and soon came near Abidi and shoved him away from the mike. “Everyone should maintain discipline. Indiscipline will not be tolerated,” Shivpal said amid slogan shouting in the audience.
The SP has been mired in a power tussle between Akhilesh and Shivpal ever since Mulayam removed his son as state party chief and appointed his brother Shivpal. The party tried to send a message of unity with Shivpal attending the flagging off Akhilesh’s rath yatra on Thursday for assembly elections and giving his “blessings”.