The Samajwadi Party on Tuesday replaced Akhilesh Yadav with his uncle Shivpal Yadav as its new chief in Uttar Pradesh. The appointment came amid reports of the widening rift within the family with the UP chief minister sacking two ministers over corruption charges and the removal of chief secretary, all considered close to Shivpal Yadav.
The rift became apparent when Akhilesh opposed the merger of Mukhtar Ansari’s Quami Ekta Dal with the SP- a move initiated by Shivpal.
The decision of SP’s national parliamentary board to call off merger of QED under pressure from Akhilesh had annoyed Shivpal. Miffed, Shivpal skipped the swearing-in of new ministers on June 27; on June 29 he seemed to be sulking at brother Ramgopal Yadav’s birthday celebrations in Lucknow.
Last month, Mulayam backed Shivpal and took on the state government stating that several cabinet ministers were involved in illegal money deals. Mulayam’s statement had come a day after Shivpal pointed to corruption within the ruling establishment and had threatened to resign.
Addressing SP workers at the party’s headquarters after a flag-hoisting ceremony on August 15, Mulayam had said the party would split into several factions and many workers will go with Shivpal if he were to leave the party. Stressing that there was a conspiracy against Shivpal from within the party, Mulayam said he had stopped his younger brother from quitting.
Mulayam had also said Shivpal was upset because one person was “looting” and amassing illegal wealth from Etawah, Mainpuri and Agra but no action was being taken against the individual. In an indication that all is not well in the SP, Mulayam reportedly said, “Agar main khada ho gaya to sarkar ki aisi-taisi ho jayegi (if I raise issues, the government will have a tough time answering).”