In a move that surprised many, Samajwadi Party Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Friday expelled Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and party leader Ram Gopal Yadav from party for six years as infighting continues to wreak havoc. With less than six months to go for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, this ongoing feud within the ruling Samajwadi Party involving chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, party chief Mulayam, senior leader Shivpal and Ram Gopal Yadav shows no signs of ending. The family politics spilled over to national pages and channels despite Akhilesh clarifying that the infighting was “a fight in the government and not the family.”
The infighting got worse when Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday released his own list of 235 candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections, a day after his father and party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had released the official list. Akhilesh announced the new list after his meeting with SP chief, earlier in the day. Mulayam Singh had on Wednesday rejected the names proposed by Akhilesh and ruled him out as party’s chief ministerial candidate. Ateeq Ahmad, Rampal Yadav, Amanmani Tripathi, Shadab Fatima, Narad Roy, OP Singh whom Mulayam selected find no mention in Akhilesh’s list.
Meanwhile, in a direct reference to Shivpal Yadav, party leader Ram Gopal Yadav said that there are forces within the party who do not want Akhilesh to become chief minister for the second time. “Bahut saari aisi shaktiyan hai, ek aadh aadmi dal ke andar bhi jo ye nahi chahte ke Akhilesh dubara Mukyamantri bane,” said Yadav.
Earlier in the day today, UP CM Akhilesh Yadav spoke to his father to categorically convey his displeasure over the choice of names. Amid all this chaos and uncertainty, hectic political activities began right from the morning with party leaders gathering outside the residences of Akhilesh and Mulayam. A big crowd also assembled outside Shivpal’s residence.
Party sources said the Chief Minister, before meeting Mulayam, met legislators and office bearers who do not figure in the list of nominees. The list, which includes 176 sitting MLAs, announced by Mulayam and Shivpal in the absence of Akhilesh, has left out several pro-Akhilesh ministers, including Ram Govind Chaudhary, Pawan Pandey and Arvind Singh Gope, and does not carry names of over 50 sitting MLAs.
Besides, 10 ministers, including Shivpal, sacked by the chief minister over the past few months have got tickets. These former ministers were in open defiance of Akhilesh and it paid off.
Within hours after release of the list, which clearly bore the stamp of Mulayam and Shivpal, Akhilesh who was away in Bundelkhand yesterday, had said he would take up the choice of candidates with the party chief.
In a late night tit-for-tat action, the Chief Minister struck back sacking two Shivpal loyalists — Surabhi Shukla, vice-chairperson of UP Awas Vikas Parishad and her husband Sandeep Shukla from the post of advisor of Rajkiya Nirman Nigam. Sandeep has been fielded from Sultanpur Sadar seat.
In the latest move today, the SP chief expelled both Akhilesh Yadav and Ramgopal Yadav from the party for six years due to indiscipline. Announcing the sudden decision at a press briefing today, the SP supremo said, “I have worked really hard to make this party, what was their role in this? I work hard and they reap the fruits?”. The SP chief defended his move saying, “To save the party, we have expelled both Ram Gopal and Akhilesh Yadav for six years from the party. For us party is the most important and our priority is to save the party.”
He also declared that he will decide the next chief minister. Meanwhile, stung by Mulayam’s showcause notice, emergency meeting of SP on January 1 in his capacity as General Secretary. Ramgopal has taken Akhilesh’s side in the ongoing tussle over control of the Samajwadi Party.
(With PTI inputs)