The rift in the Samajwadi pariwar refuses to subside. Samajwadi Party (SP) General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav, who is also the cousin of party founder and chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and state party president Shivpal Yadav, has now thrown his weight behind Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and the duo are making all efforts to ensure that the party members and cadres move ahead under the leadership of Akhilesh and not Mulayam. Akhilesh Yadav sacked Shivpal and three other ministers during a meeting to assert his position in the party and the government. The uncle-nephew pair have now taken up the task of shepherding as much support as they can from party MLAs and MLCs along with the workers on ground for Akhilesh to take the mantle from Mulayam Singh.
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Ram Gopal wrote a letter to party workers on Sunday morning insisting that the future of the party lies with Akhilesh, hinting that it may be the time for a shift of power in the party from Mulayam to Akhilesh and hence Akhilesh should be given precedence over his father who has served as the state’s chief minister thrice and is currently a Lok Sabha MP.
On Sunday, the CM convened a meeting of MLAs and MLCs in which controversial minister Gayatri Prajapati was also present. Interestingly, Shivpal Yadav was not invited to the meeting, neither was Mulayam Singh Yadav present. During the meeting Shivpal Yadav was sacked by Akhilesh along with three other ministers ensuring that his hold remains strong in the government.
The herculean feat of dethroning Mulayam from SP seems to be the prime objective taken up by Akhilesh and Ram Gopal. Recently the party chief announced that SP will not project any CM candidate for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections and that the elected members will meet to choose the chief minister, should the party come to power in 2017. His decision was presumably taken to take as much support away from Akhilesh so that he doesn’t go on a solo campaign spree for the elections, a plan that was blocked by Mulayam in recent weeks.
The infighting in the party and the family has turned from sour to bitter and prospects of reconciliation are now balanced on the tug-of-war for authority in the party’s decision making. Ram Gopal Yadav clearly spoke of the two factions in the party. The Rajya Sabha MP said that Akhilesh loyalists had spilt their blood for the party but people on the other side were corrupt and had “minted crores and misused power”.
The father-son war has trickled down into the party and the government and decisions in both have been affected by this enmity. Mulayam refuses to let go of his backseat driving position even as Akhilesh leads the state as CM. His recent remarks saying “who to place where is upon me to decide” and that “votes are sought on my name” highlight his intentions of not handing over the party’s command to anyone else, surprisingly, in the land of dynastic politics, least of all his son Akhilesh.
It was evident from the start that Mulayam Singh will have some sort of involvement in Akhilesh’s decisions but this level of intervention has visibly left the CM miffed, making up seems a difficult task. Each day as the rift continues, the party loses vital support from voters. The party workers also remain divided in two factions and that has played into the hands of Mayawati and the BJP who are revelling in this clash.