SP feud: Mulayam, Akhilesh exchange heated words
Lucknow : Acrimony, bitter exchanges and personal attacks today marked a meeting of Samajwadi Party leaders, bringing to the fore the high-voltage power struggle in the first family with Akhilesh Yadav and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav trading barbs while the chief minister was accused of planning to float a party, a charge he denied.
Cut up with his son, Mulayam Singh Yadav put up a strong defence of his brother Shivpal Yadav, who was sacked by Akhilesh yesterday from his cabinet, and General Secretary Amar Singh but ruled out replacing the chief minister, who offered to quit.
The political drama was also punctuated by clashes between rival factions outside and inside the venue and after the abrupt end to the meeting of the legislators, MPs and ministers.
Seeking to put at rest speculation, Akhilesh ruled out forming any new party and offered to step down if Mulayam Singh Yadav wanted.
With his father and uncle watching, he broke down while addressing the meeting.
“Let ‘netaji’ (Mulayam) install a chief minister who he feels is honest,” he said.
“Why should I form a new party?” he posed in an emotionally choked voice.
At the meeting Akhilesh said all these years he had toiled hard for the welfare of the people.
“Merey pita, merey guru hain (my father is my guru)” he said.
The Chief Minister said many people were trying to create divisions within his family using various machinations and that he had taught himself how to oppose any wrong doing.
Tension was palpable much before the meeting began with youth supporters of Akhilesh mounting pressure on the leadership in support of the chief minister.
Amid talks that Akhilesh could give a miss to the silver jubilee celebrations of the party, the chief minister said, “Rath be chaley, sthapana diwas be maney (my rath yatra will go on and establishment day of the party will be celebrated).”
Akhilesh will embark on his ‘rath yatra’ on November 3, two days ahead of the silver jubilee event, which gave rise to speculation that he would skip the big show to express his displeasure over the recent developments in the party.
The chief minister said that he had connected with the masses with the help of Samajwadi Pension Yojana.
“People kept criticising me, but I went ahead keeping my promises to them,” he said.
An angry Akhilesh targeted Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh for the current developments saying that he (Amar) had hinted that some “major changes” would take place in October.
At the same time, the chief minister said that if he had said something beyond his limit, he should be pardoned.
When his turn came, Mulayam Singh said the party was facing a difficult situation and party members should not fight with each other. But his words had little effect as chaos broke out at the venue and heated words were exchanged on the dais leading to an abrupt end of the meeting.
Both the father and son shouted at each other at the meeting.
“I can’t tolerate anything against Amar and Shivpal. Amar saved me from going to jail,” Mulayam said admonishing Akhilesh for attacking Amar Singh.
“Amar has helped me a lot. If Amar was not there I would have been in jail, he is like my brother,” Mulayam said, describing the Rajya Sabha member as his brother.
Mulayam said mere donning of red cap (colour of SP’s cap) does not make one Samajwadi.
“Some ministers are just sycophants,” he added. “I cannot forget the work done by Shivpal Yadav,” he said while describing Shivpal as a mass leader.
“We are facing difficult situation, we should remove our weakness and not fight with each other,” Mulayam said.
In the first open attack on his nephew, Shivpal Yadav claimed the chief minister had told him that he would float a new party to contest the upcoming Assembly polls.
He urged his brother to “take over reins of Uttar Pradesh”.
Speaking after Akhilesh’s denial, Shivpal said, “Recently, I went to meet the CM. He said he would float a party and ally with some parties.”
Daggers drawn with the chief minister over a host of issues, Shivpal said he was ready to vouch for it. “I can swear by Gangajal,” he said.
Referring to his long association with the party and his contributions towards strengthening it, Shivpal told party chief, “Netaji, there is a need for you to take over reins of Uttar Pradesh.”
Standing stoutly with Amar Singh, who is being accused of pitting one against the other in the family, he said, “Amar Singh ke charanon ki dhool bhi nahi ho aap log (Worth of all of you is not even one quarter of Amar Singh)”.
He said that he had never severed his relations with Amar Singh and shared personal ties with him all through.
Referring to the controversy over the merger of mafia don-turned-MLA Muktar Ansari’s QED with the Samajwadi Party, Shivpal said he (Ansari) was never taken into the party and only rumours were spread in this regard.
Shivpal also made a mention of his efforts to garner support of opposition party MLAs to ensure smooth sailing of SP nominees in the recent Rajya Sabha polls.
“Do I have no contribution in government formation… Have my departments not done good work? Even opposition party leaders laud the works… The CM should tell where I have not done enough…despite not being invited, I used to go to CM’s house,” he said.
At the meeting, Shivpal and Akhilesh traded charges at each other on the dais.
Amid the commotion, Shivpal snatched the mike from the chief minister.
Snubbing Akhilesh’s supporters, Shivpal said the party has been strengthened through the hard work and sweat of Mulayam Singh and not “because of your sloganeering”.
When Shivpal said he had been working for the organisation all these four years visiting each district three to four times, someone in the audience pointed out that he had travelled using government helicopter.
Shivpal retorted: “Helicopter kya tumhare baap ka hai, main mantri tha government mein (Did your father own the helicopter? I was a minister in the government).”