Locked in a turf battle with his uncle Shivpal Yadav, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today laid bare his angst, saying he “felt bad” after being removed as Samajwadi Party state president and demanded that he be given a say in ticket distribution for the 2017 Assembly election.
Akhilesh said he has rejected the resignation of Shivpal and he will comply with his father and party supremo Mulayam Singh’s Yadav direction to reinduct sacked Mining Minister Gayatri Prajapati, adding that “Netaji will find a solution (to the current crisis) and everyone will accept it”.
The feud in the Yadav family had spilled into the open after the Chief Minister stripped Shivpal of key ministerial portfolios on September 13, hours after he was replaced with Shivpal as the party’s state unit chief by Mulayam. In a dramatic development, Shivpal resigned from all party and Cabinet posts last night.
“I felt bad and you saw its effect. I’m coming here after a discussion with Netaji (Mulayam). Samajwadi Party is a family and there are no differences in the party,” Akhilesh said at India TV’s ‘Chunav Manch’ conclave here.
The Chief Minister rubbished reports that he is behind the feud in the family saying, “It’s a fight for the chair. If a good person asks for the CM’s post, I am ready to give it up. “It’s election time. We should all come together and work. There is no fight between Ramgopal Yadav, Akhilesh and Shivpal.”
Making it clear that he wanted a say in the distribution of tickets in the upcoming state elections, Akhilesh said, “I say I will give back everything but then I will say I should have the authority to distribute tickets. It will be my ‘pariskha’ (test) in elections.”
Apparently attacking SP Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh for fuelling feud in the family, he said, “Everyone understands who is this outsider, even you know that. I have told Netaji that if an outsider comes between us, he will be thrown out.” “Netaji and I have decided that we will not let outsiders drive a wedge between us,” he said.
“If there is some issue, Netaji will find a solution and everyone will accept it. Netaji is my father and also his (Shivpal’s) brother, he will find a solution to this issue,” he said.
“I have said that I take some decisions on instructions of Netaji, I take some decisions on my own,” he said.
On Mulayam’s announcement of taking back controversial minister Prajapati, Akhilesh said, “It is my responsibility as a son to accept Netaji’s decision. I accept Netaji’s decision to bring Gayatri Prajapati back into Cabinet.”
On removal of Chief Secretary Deepak Singhal, the Chief Minister said, “Uncle knows why he was removed, he should tell this to people.”
In reply to a question, Akhilesh said, “The one who is at the top is all alone, is always lonely.”
The removal of Singhal and Prajapati was seen as a bone of contention between Shivpal and Akhilesh. On the stalled merger of gangster-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s Quami Ekta Dal with SP, he said, “We would’ve merged QED with SP but then media would have blamed us.”
Shivpal was said to have shepherded the merger of QED with the Samajwadi Party. When Akhilesh nixed the merger, Shivpal reportedly felt that he was publicly humiliated by his nephew.
Akhilesh was adamant that the merger be called off as he wanted to maintain the clean image he had once sought to establish by opposing former MP D P Yadav in the party before the 2012 state Assembly polls.
His stand had won the party political mileage after it had lost power in 2007 over law and order which is a major poll issue this time as well.
QED, an eastern UP-based political party, is headed by former SP MP Afzal Ansari, who is elder brother of Mukhtar, now in jail in connection with the murder of a BJP MLA.
On Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s oft repeated remark that SP’s ‘cycle’ (its poll symbol) was punctured, Akhilesh said, “He is fooling farmers. He knows bicycles now come with tubeless tyres. People now trust us that whatever promise we make, we fulfil it.”
“If Rahul Gandhi had said that Akhilesh is a good leader then I would have also said he (Rahul) is a good leader. We have also waived loans of farmers,” he said.
Attacking BJP which had recent held protests over the law and order issue in the state, he said, “BJP protested at police stations, met the Governor but did not inform me. I will take prompt action if complaints reach me.”