Amar Singh’s return highlights the Samajwadi Party’s divide between young and old

After taking action against the youth leaders, Mulayam elevated Amar Singh, who had returned to SP with his name figuring in the list for party's nominees for Rajya Sabha polls.

Written by Lalmani Verma | New Delhi | Updated: September 22, 2016 8:14 am
Akhilesh Yadav, Amar Singh, Samajwadi Party, SP, SP rift, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Deepak Singhal, Prajapati, Raj Kishore Singh, UP politics, UP elections, UP news, India news, latest news, opinion, Indian express Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav along with party leader Amar Singh and Shivpal Singh Yadav.

Samajwadi Party national president Mulayam Singh Yadav’s decision to elevate Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh, restoring his ‘national leader’ stature by appointing him party national general secretary, a day after the expulsion of seven young loyalists of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, appears to be splitting the party between the old and new generations.

On Sunday, SP state president Shivpal Singh Yadav expelled MLC Arvind Pratap Singh, a youth leader and nephew of party national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav. Shivpal had on Monday expelled MLCs Sunil Singh Yadav, Sajan, Anand Bhadauriya and Sanjay Lathar, Mulayam Youth Brigade national and state presidents Gaurav Dubey and Mohd Ebaad, Samajwadi Party Yuvjan Sabha state president Brijesh Yadav and Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha state president Digvijay Singh Deo. They had all staged a demonstration outside Mulayam’s residence demanding reinstatement of Akhilesh as state party president. They have been expelled for making derogatory remarks against Mulayam, anti-party activities and indiscipline. Ram Gopal’s nephew was also expelled on similar charges. Sources said Mulayam was annoyed with them because they had led the agitation against his decisions.

After taking action against the youth leaders, Mulayam elevated Amar Singh, who had returned to SP with his name figuring in the list for party’s nominees for Rajya Sabha polls. The same list had the name of former Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma who rejoined SP after a decade. A five-time Lok Sabha MP, Verma is known as a prominent Kurmi leader who could help SP counter Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who has been eyeing UP over the past several months.

In July, both Amar and Beni had been included in the SP national executive committee as members. Both were close confidants of Mulayam and carried decisive powers when they were in the party last time. Now, both are once again likely to get back such powers in the party as Mulayam has said that Amar will play an important role in the upcoming UP Assembly polls.

Shivpal himself has emerged as a biggest gainer in the recent turmoil in the party. First, his loyalist IAS officer Deepak Singhal was removed from the post of chief secretary last week. The same day when Mulayam replaced Akhilesh with Shivpal as state president, Akhilesh had stripped his uncle Shivpal of key portfolios. But under pressure from Mulayam, Akhilesh accepted Shivpal as state president and also returned portfolios to him, excluding Public Works Department. But he added more significant departments and increased Shivpal’s number of portfolios to 14. Shivpal is also party state in-charge and state chief spokesman. Shivpal has replaced party state principal general secretary Arvind Singh Gope with Om Prakash Singh who is elder than Gope.

The division between old generation versus new generation could be seen as the youth leaders expelled from the party on Monday have announced that only Akhilesh was their leader and they will keep on working for him. A young chief minister, Akhilesh is also national in-charge of youth frontal organisation led by these expelled leaders. These youth leaders had played significant roles in the success of his Rath Yatra taken out across the state before the 2012 Assembly polls and were expected to get responsibilities in Samajwadi Vikas Yatra that Akhilesh has announced to take out before the 2017 polls. After the recent turmoil, Akhilesh has postponed that yatra which he had been announced to begin from October 3.

“Mulayam Singh was very upset with the protest of these youth leaders outside his residence and party office on Saturday. Mulayam had never expected that those who grew in politics because of him, will defy his decisions,” an SP leader said. After expulsion of seven prominent youth leaders from the party, more than 50 office-bearers of the youth frontal organisation resigned from their posts demanding reinduction of expelled youth leaders and return of Akhilesh as state president. “The youth want to strengthen Akhileshji. But some people want to weaken him,” said Sanjay Lathar, an expelled MLC.