Akhilesh Takes U-Turn, Falls In Line

Lucknow:  After a turbulent Monday when father and son exchanged barbs and the UP’s first family feud came into the open, Akhilesh Yadav said on Tuesday he would not quit the Samajwadi Party even if he is removed as Chief Minister.

The 43-year-old told NDTV: “I was made Chief Minister by the party president who is my father. If he asks me to step down, I certainly will,” Akhilesh said. Dismissing the talk of whether he would launch his own party, Akhilesh said that “if I am removed, I will campaign for him.”

“Like a horse in a race has blinkers on and it doesn’t look anywhere else, I am looking at the next election. I have no other plans,” Akhilesh told NDTV. His comments followed Mulayam Singh’s press conference at which he made it clear that the CM would not return to his post automatically even if the ruling party returns to power in the forthcoming Assembly elections. .

“Remember the 2012 election was fought in my name,” said Mulayam, adding, “First give us a majority, then we will see who will be Chief Minister.” His implication is clear:  Party legislators have to choose their new leader.

Apparently, playing his cards well, Mulayam made his younger brother Shivpal Yadav, sit next to him. Shivpal and Akhilesh are at loggerheads in the running political battle for supremacy. When Mulayam was asked about whether Shivpal and three other ministers sacked by Akhilesh on Sunday would be reinstated, Mulayam  replied, “the Chief Minister must be watching this, he will decide.”

It looks for the time being the main characters in the UP political play have averted a vertical split. But how long they will stick together is anybody’s guess.

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