The Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh seemed headed for a split on Sunday, with chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and father Mulayam Singh Yadav bringing their family face-off out in the open.
While Akhilesh sacked his uncle and senior minister Shivpal Singh Yadav along with three of his loyalists Narad Rai, Omprakash and Shadab Fatima, from the state cabinet, party
national president Mulayam retaliated by expelling his cousin and SP general secretary Ramgopal Yadav for six years.
The decision on removal of Shivpal and the other ministers was taken at a meeting of party legislators called by the CM, just a day
before a meeting of all MLAs, MLCs and block presidents called by Mulayam on Monday.
However, within hours of Shivpal’s sacking, Mulayam expelled Ram Gopal — who is known to be close to Akhilesh — from the party for six years, allegedly for conspiring with the BJP.
Informing mediapersons about the decision taken by the party president, his brother Shivpal accused Ram Gopal of being hand in glove with the BJP. “Ramgopal Yadav is involved with the BJP and has met BJP leaders thrice in the last few days. He is conspiring against me to save his son and daughter-in-law from the clutches of the CBI as they are involved in Yadav Singh’s Noida land scam,” Shivpal alleged, adding that the CM must understand who was with him and who wasn’t.
Reacting to his expulsion, Ramgopal said he was saddened by the allegations, but added: “Whether I am in the Samajwadi Party or not, I will always be with Akhilesh Yadav”.
With things taking a turn for the worse just before the elections, political circles are abuzz with the possibility of a vertical split in the party in the coming days.
Meanwhile, at the Sunday morning meeting called at his official residence, an emotional Akhilesh reportedly made it clear that Mulayam was and will remain his leader and that he would not walk out of the party. “The chief minister also stated that he will remain in the party and has no plans to quit and that reports on an imminent split were wrong,” an insider said.
The chief minister also said he will flag off the ‘Samajwadi Vikas Rath Yatra’ on November 3, but would also be present for the party’s silver jubilee celebrations on November 5. “The chief minister also stated he would flag off the newly constructed Lucknow-Agra Expressway on November 21 and dedicate it to his father whose birthday falls on that day,” said the party leader present at Akhilesh’s meeting.