Breaking his silence over the factional feud in the Samajwadi Party, its supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Friday said there can be no division in the party till he is there, a day after the dramatic resignation from the Cabinet and party posts by his brother Shivpal Yadav.
Addressing party men in Lucknow, Mr. Yadav said his son and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will not defy his words and announced that sacked Mining Minister Gayatri Prajapati will be taken back in the Cabinet, considered a bone of contention between Mr. Shivpal Yadav and Mr. Akhilesh Yadav.
“There can be no division in the party, till I am there,” said Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav, who has been attempting to broker a truce between his son and brother.
“We have a big family, differences may occur… There is no fight between Shivpal Yadav and Akhilesh,” the Samjwadi Party supremo asserted, adding that Mr. Akhilesh Yadav will meet Mr. Shivpal Yadav at his residence.
The SP supremo said it was election time and all should come together to work unitedly. “There is no fight among Ramgopal, Akhilesh and Shivpal,” he told reporters as slogans in favour of Mr. Shivpal Yadav drowned his remarks.
As the crisis threatened to cast a shadow over the SP’s prospects in the coming Assembly elections, Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav sought to downplay the developments, saying, “Every father and son faces issues….There is no rift.” He, however, said there was “fault of our people as well who spoke to media.” Some people created confusion that there was rift in the party.
He also defended Mr. Prajapati, saying, “the order of his sacking will be rescinded“.
His remarks came hours after Mr. Shivpal told agitated supporters who gathered outside his Kalidas Marg residence that he was with Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav.
“We all have to strengthen the Samajwadi Party. We are with Netaji [Mulayam Singh Yadav]. His message is an order for us. We will not let the party be weakened. In every situation, we are with Netaji,” Mr. Shivpal Yadav said.
“You have to go to the party office. We have to calmly convey our views to Netaji,” he added.
Party men had gathered in his support since Thursday night after he submitted his resignation to Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav as the party’s Uttar Pradesh unit head and as a Minister.
However, Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav reportedly refused to accept the resignations.
The ruling party circles witnessed hectic confabulations right from the morning, with a number of legislators and ministers meeting Mr. Shivpal Yadav. Mr. Prajapati was one among them.
Assembly Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey also met Mr. Shivpal Yadav in an apparent bid to resolve the situation.
After his meeting with Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav, which lasted hardly 15 minutes, Mr. Shivpal Yadav left for his residence after which Mr. Akhilesh Yadav returned home to meet Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadavand they discussed the situation.
Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav had rushed here from Delhi last evening after the public feud between the nephew and uncle deepened.
Mr. Shivpal Yadav’s wife Sarla had quit the post of District Cooperative Bank chairperson, Etawah, and their son Aditya resigned as chairman of Pradeshik Cooperative Federation, according to sources.
In Etawah, hundreds of Mr. Shivpal Yadav’s supporters gathered at Shastri crossing and sat on dharna demanding that all portfolios be restored to him.
One of his supporters also tried to immolate himself, demanding the sacking of Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav’s cousin Ramgopal Yadav.
In his constituency Jaswant Nagar, shops were shut down by supporters, who also blocked traffic on the national highway.
The supporters were shouting slogans “Shivpal tum sangharsh karo, hum tumhare saath hain” (In your struggle, we are with you).
The feud in the Yadav family had spilled into the open after the Chief Minister stripped Mr. Shivpal Yadav of key ministerial portfolios on September 13, hours after he was replaced with Mr. Shivpal Yadav as the party’s State unit chief by Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Mr. Ram Gopal Yadav, who is seen as backing the Chief Minister, on Thursday said the leadership had committed an unintentional “mistake” by removing Mr. Akhilesh Yadav as the party’s UP chief.
He blamed “outsiders” for the crisis, an apparent reference to Amar Singh, who recently returned to the party after a long gap.