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Mulayam Singh Yadav lonelier, on son Akhilesh’s side are ministers, old aides, family members

With the scales tilted in favour of Akhilesh, only a few leaders visited Mulayam on Sunday.

Written by RAMENDRA SINGH , Lalmani Verma | Lucknow |
Updated: January 2, 2017 3:02:07 pm
samajwadi party, akhilesh yadav, mulayam singh yadav, akhilesh mulayam, mulayam akhilesh, samajwadi party president, SP president, india news Most of the workers who attended the convention, including Family Welfare Minister Ravidas Mehrotra, also said Akhilesh’s appointment as SP chief had Mulayam’s tacit approval and his opposition was only a show.

As Akhilesh Yadav showcased support from party workers and took control of the Samajwadi Party from his father Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday, those close to the patriarch chose to ignore him and side with the son.

Those present on the dais at the special national convention, where Akhilesh was chosen national president, were party co-founder Reoti Raman Singh, vice-president Kiranmay Nanda, who presided over the convention, party general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Agrawal, several ministers and MLAs who have had long association with Mulayam, as well as most of the members of the extended Yadav family.

WATCH VIDEO | Samajwadi Party Symbol Is My Identity, I have Done Nothing Wrong: Mulayam Singh Yadav

With the scales tilted in favour of Akhilesh, only a few leaders visited Mulayam on Sunday. These included minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati, who is considered close to Mulayam’s younger son Prateek, MLC Ashu Malik and Rajya Sabha MP Beni Prasad Verma, besides Shivpal Yadav and his associates.

Nanda, who was brought from West Bengal politics by Mulayam and given the second highest position in the party organisation, also chose to side with Akhilesh. In the past, Nanda has often cited his long association with Mulayam, calling him his inspiration in politics.

Defending his decision to side with Akhilesh, Nanda said that the coming elections were a challenge for the SP and to ensure that the public did not have any confusion about the party, he and other senior leaders were showing their faith in the leadership of Akhilesh. “Akhilesh is a national leader and people in every state know him,” Nanda said, while adding, “I cannot leave Netaji … I was with him when he established the party.”

In better times: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav with his father and Samajwadi Party Supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and minister Azam Khan in Lucknow. File/Express Photo/Vishal Srivastav. In better times: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav with his father and Samajwadi Party Supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and minister Azam Khan in Lucknow. File/Express Photo/Vishal Srivastav.

Nanda also accused some people of “conspiring” against the party by confusing Mulayam, and said it was all the more necessary hence to make Akhilesh party president.

Balram Yadav and Durga Prasad Yadav, two ministers from Mulayam’s constituency Azamgarh, also chose to be at Akhilesh’s convention against his orders. Rajya Sabha MP and former treasurer Chandrapal Singh Yadav sat on the dais, while Basic Education Minister Ahmed Hasan, a former police officer who was brought into politics by Mulayam, was present and supported Akhilesh’s elevation.

Veteran SP leader Uday Pratap Singh, who once taught Mulayam in his college days and holds the rank of minister in the Akhilesh government, attended too.

WATCH VIDEO | Samajwadi Party Crisis: Mulayam Singh Isolated? Scales Tilt In Favour Of Akhilesh Yadav

Akhilesh had sacked Balram Yadav from his cabinet when he had talked with the Quami Ekta Dal regarding a merger in June, but he had been reinducted in the government after the SP parliamentary board cancelled the merger. Explaining why the Mulayam loyalist Sunday shared the stage with Akhilesh and Ram Gopal on Sunday, an SP leader said, “Balram’s son Sangram is an MLA from Atraulia in Azamgarh and his future in the party will depend on Akhilesh.” Sangram figures in Akhilesh’s list of candidates for the 2017 elections.

Among the family members present at the convention were Badaun MP Dharmendra Yadav, Ram Gopal’s son and Firozabad MP Akshay Yadav, Mainpuri MP Tej Pratap Yadav and Etawah zila panchayat president Anshul Yadav. Women members of the family, including Akhilesh’s wife Dimple Yadav, did not attend.

Shivpal Yadav’s son Aditya joined his father in staying away, and accompanied him to Mulayam’s residence.

Later, even as Mulayam termed the convention “unconstitutional”, there were no vocal opponents of the anointment of Akhilesh as national president.

Mulayam Singh Yadav before the meeting of leaders of various political parties in both the house of parliament connetion with winter session of parliament. Express photo by Renuka PURI Isolated? In this file photo, Mulayam Singh Yadav is seen ahead of a meeting in Parliament House. File/Express Photo/Renuka Puri

“In the last few days, everyone has understood who enjoys the support of the public, MLAs and workers. His anointment as national president was long awaited. He has managed to rid the SP of the tag of being associated with goons and mafia. Even if he does not get the bicycle symbol, it will not be a big issue, as he is a symbol by himself now,” said former MLA Braj Mohan Yadav, who attended the convention.

Most of the workers who attended the convention, including Family Welfare Minister Ravidas Mehrotra, also said Akhilesh’s appointment as SP chief had Mulayam’s tacit approval and his opposition was only a show. “Everything happened with the consent of Netaji. He just did not want to get the blame for appointing his son. It is better that this has been done now when Netaji is alive,” said Ashok Yadav, the district secretary of the party’s Gorakhpur unit.

Naresh Agrawal said, “We have accepted Netaji as our mardarshak and we respect him. Public has faith in Akhilesh. Some people have surrounded Netaji and are forcibly getting orders issued, but as Akhileshji has led the government in the state and he will have to appear in the exam of upcoming elections, he should not be pushed back.”

Agrawal’s son Nitin is the SP MLA from Hardoi and he is also a minister in the Akhilesh government.

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