Shivpal Quits Cabinet, Party Posts

  • Crisis in SP deepens
  • Mulayam’s Patch-up  efforts fail

Lucknow: Mulayam Singh Yadav, the patriarch of the Samajwadi Party (SP) failed to stem the rot in his party after a day long negotiations with his brother Shivpal and son Askhilesh. The infighting in the party that has been going on for some time resulted in the resignation of Shivpal Yadav, younger brother of Mulayam, from the Cabinet as well as from the leadership of the UP unit of SP. This sudden development took place soon after Shivpal Yadav met Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

Mulayam travelled all the way to Lucknow from Delhi to broker peace between the warring factions led by his son and his brother. Earlier Mulayam appeared to be supporting his brother. He reiterated even after reaching here on Thursday  afternoon that Shivpal would continue as president of the party in UP and he would also get back his portfolios. Mulayam had two meetings with his brother. There were rumours that the father and son were not on talking terms for some time due to the differences that cropped up in the party. Though they were in the same house it was not known if they met each other. The feud in the family, government and the party five months before Assembly election caused a lot of anxiety to many senior leaders. Shivpal had a 20-minute meeting on Thursday evening with the chief minister to settle the issues. On Wednesday Shivpal rushed to Delhi to talk to his brother. They had an hour-long meeting in Delhi. They met again in Lucknow. The rift has been there for months but it came to a head when Mulayam replaced Akhilesh as the president of the party by his favourite brother. The party leaders and cadred did not expect this development. It was considered as a punishment meted out to the young chief minister for defying his uncle.

Amar Singh, a fall guy?

‘If people from outside the family keep interfering, how will things work out?’, questioned Akhilesh while talking to the media. It is widely believed that he was referring to Amar Singh who rejoined the party a few months ago after a six-year exile. Akhilesh is known to dislike Amar Singh. Even Ramgopal Yadav, Mulayam’s cousin, a Rajya Sabha Member and a respected SP leader, who flew in from Delhi, also found fault with the role played by Amar Singh. Ramgopal openly said in his interview to a TV channel that Amar Singh would plant some idea in Mulayam Singh’s mind and create a rift in the party. Many  believe that Amar Singh has poisoned Shivpal Yadav to create a gap between Mulayam and his son. The leaders of opposition parties started taking advantage of the strife in the party. Rahul Gandhi, Congress Vice President, commented that the cycle (SP’s election symbol) became old and the leaders are trying to replace the tyres. BSP leader Mayawati described the whole episode as a drama in the absence any tangible work done by the SP government.

Jayaprada angle

There appears to be a Telugu angle to the developments in SP. It seems Amar Singh wanted his friend and colleague Jayaprada, Telugu actress and former MP from UP, to be appointed as chairperson of UP film development board. Chief Minister Akhilesh did not oblige. That is one of many reasons why Amar Singh is not happy with the treatment meted out to him after rejoining the party. It is said that even for the exile Amar Singh thought it was the handiwork of the chief minister. He started to complain openly about it.

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