It’s finally out in the open! The Samajwadi Party (SP) has split and Mulayam Singh Yadav will now be former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav’s official contender. On Friday morning, senior party leader Shivpal Singh Yadav came out and announced his intention to break away from SP and form a new party.

The new party christened as Samajwadi Secular Morcha (SSM) will have ‘Netaji’ Mulayam Singh as its national secretary.

“In order to restore his (Mulayam) lost dignity and to bring all the Samajwadis together, there will soon be an announcement of this secular front in Lucknow,” Shivpal Yadav said.

Sidelined since 2016 when Akhilesh Yadav ousted him from the cabinet first and then divested him and Mulayam Singh of their posts in the Samajwadi Party, Shivpal Yadav said he was forced to form the new party to “restore Mulayam’s honour”.

Over the last one week, Shivpal Yadav had been attacking his nephew Akhilesh Yadav, asking him to return the Samajwadi Party’s National President’s post to Mulayam Singh.

Akhilesh Yadav had said after becoming the National President that he would restore the post after the assembly elections.

The Samajwadi Party suffered a huge setback in the assembly polls of February-March. It won just 47 seats as against the 228 it held in the outgoing 403-member assembly.

Shivpal Yadav has been daggers drawn with his nephew for many months after a bitter family feud and power struggle broke out in the 25-year-old Samajwadi Party.

He had threatened twice in the past to quit the party and float his own if “respect” was not shown to Mulayam Singh.

(With inputs from IANS