New Delhi: Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had to step in on Wednesday to check the growing rift within the “family” and state government over a “power tussle” between Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Shivpal Yadav — with crucial assembly elections slated for early next year.
To find a solution of the present crisis, Mulayam has convened a meeting of the party’s parliamentary board on Thursday in Lucknow.
Mulayam summoned both Akhilesh and Shivpal to Delhi after their conflict went public, but Akhilesh didn’t turn up while Shivpal held discussions with his elder brother and his son Aditya Yadav for more than three hours.
What transpired between Mulayam and Shivpal was not immediately clear but it was evident that “Netaji” had a tough task ahead to find an amicable solution to the apparent family feud.
In Lucknow, Akhilesh tried to downplay the matter, saying his conflict with uncle Shivpal was a “sarkari ladai” (government battle), not a family feud.
Interacting with reporters on the sidelines of an event at his official residence, Akhilesh said: “This is a tussle in the government, not the family.”
The Chief Minister quickly added that he always did what Samajwadi Party leader and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav told him to do.
“I generally go by what Netaji tells me but, yes, I do take some decisions on my own,” he said, in an apparent explanation of his action of late Tuesday when he divested Shivpal Yadav of plum portfolios.
Akhilesh Yadav added that Mulayam Singh Yadav was the tallest leader in the ruling party and everyone in the family adhered to what he said.
Akhilesh Yadav’s comments came as Shivpal Yadav flew to New Delhi to meet party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Earlier, addressing his supporters in Safai, Shivpal Yadav said it was the Chief Minister’s right to take or give portfolios.
Asked if he would resign from the Samajwadi Party, Shivpal Yadav said he would take a decision only after meeting Mulayam Singh.
“Netaji jo faisala lenge, vo humme sweekar hai (I will accept any decision taken by Mulayam Singh). The people of the state are with Mulayam Singh and Samajwadi Party,” Shivpal Yadav said.
Meanwhile, Akhilesh in an indirect reference to Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh, who was recently taken back to the party fold, said there were “some outsiders” who were trying to influence the government decisions.
“How can a government run under such circumstances?”he asked.
Amar Singh said that Akhilesh was like a son to him, adding that he won’t get provoked by the media poking.
“Aap kitna bhi kahein Akhilesh ne yeh kaha hai, main man-ne ko tayar nahi. Aajtak usne vyaktigat roop se mere baare mei ek shabd tak nahi kaha,” Amar Singh said.
He also negated all rumors doing the round that he might be the reason for the rift between Akhilesh and Shivpal.
“If Mulayam Singhji says I am the culprit, I will accept it,” he told reporters.
The entire episode was triggered after Akhilesh Yadav had sacked two ministers — Gayatri Prajapati (Mining) and Rajkishore Singh (Panchayati Raj) — considered close to Mulayam Singh and Shivpal Yadav on Monday.
Akhilesh also removed Chief Secretary Deepak Singhal, who was also known to be close to Shivpal Yadav, on Tuesday.
Akhilesh was then removed as state party chief and replaced by uncle Shivpal Yadav.
Akhilesh in turn divested Shivpal of plum portfolios in the state cabinet.
Prajapati also met Mulayam on Wednesday in New Delhi for over an hour.