SP split looks imminent

  • Bap-Beta family feud threatens party’s future

Lucknow:  A split in the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh looks imminent after the ‘Bap-Beta Brawl’ on Monday. Mulayam Singh Yadav, the founder of SP, and his son Akhilesh, the Chief Minister, shouted at each other.

Akhilesh has accused his uncle Shivpal Yadav of creating trouble for him and Shivpal called his nephew a liar. Having witnessed the elders cutting him to size, it would be a political suicide on the part of Akhilesh to swallow all the insults and face the elections after suffering a loss of face.

Observers say he might float a new party, Akhilesh Sena, very soon. The young chief minister has asked his supporters to make the November 3rd meeting in Lucknow a grand success. He will perhaps take a decision on a new party after seeing the response at the meeting which is expected to kick-start Vikas Yaatra.

Mulayam, a renowned pugilist, is planning to celebrate the silver jubilee of the founding of SP. He will also gauge the public mood at the celebrations and take a final view on the future of the party and that of his son.

Uncle, nephew bury the hatchet, for now

Netaji, as Mulayam Singh Yadav, the supremo of the Samajwad Party, is respectfully called, has the experience and stature to avert a split in the party he founded 25 years ago. He appears to have succeeded to bring about a truce between his beloved brother Shivpal Yadav and his dear son Akhilesh Yadav after all that happened on a tumultuous day. His final warning that both have “to sink their differences or cause the SP ship sink”, has done the trick forcing the nephew and uncle to hug and make up.

The relationship between father and son has deteriorated steadily with the father publicly reprimanding the son every now and then. Akhilesh is understood to have decided to walk out of the shadow of his father, but he is apparently biding his time. It is difficult to say how long the truce would continue. Akhilesh had announced that he would be setting out on Rath Yaatra on November 3.

The other parties, especially the BJP and the BSP, are seen gloating over the unseemly quarrel in the ruling party’s first family. The new BJP entrant, Rita Bahuguna, was quick to react saying that the future of the SP is sealed.

Mayawati, who is supposed to gain the most from the difficulties of Akhilesh, has been very closely observing the developments. Even the Congress top brass has met in Delhi in the presence of Priyanka Gandhi to review the developments in UP.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking at a meeting at Mahoba in UP, asked the people of UP to “break the SP cycle” by voting for development in the crucial Assembly elections. Talking about the family drama being unfolded in Lucknow and the moves of Mayawati, Modi said, “On the one hand there are people who want to save their family, on the other there are people who want to grab power at any cost”.

Mulayam Singh has been walking on a razor’s edge for almost a month now. Ever since he rushed to Lucknow from Delhi to douse the flames that were about to engulf his party, Mulayam has been busy making all kinds of attempts to broker peace between the warring factions. The party which has been in power for more than four and half years and is about to face the polls as an incumbent, has witnessed unprecedented revolt from within. The factions led by young chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav, and the old horse Shivpal Yadav came to clash on many occasions. It was the intervention of the Netaji that prevented a vertical split.

Emotional scenes, shouting matches

Monday also began with Mulayam Singh Yadav announcing that there is no question of sacking Akhilesh. In the same breath, he was praising his younger brother Shivpal as the people’s leader. Two leader who are treated as outsiders by respective factions were blamed for the rift. While the faction led by Akhilesh named Amar Singh as the chief source of trouble who created the rift, the group led by Shivpal said the trouble maker is Ram Gopal Yadav, Rajya Sabha Member, who is implementing the BJP agenda.

 Akhilesh openly questioned the decision to re-admit  Amar Singh into the party.  Shivpal commented that Ram Gopal has an agenda to divide the party in order to help BJP win in the ensuing Assembly elections.

Mulayam, 76, said bitterly that ‘instead of fighting the opponents, we are fighting internally’. While swearing that Akhilesh will not be removed from the chief minister’s post, he also said with equal emphasis that he will not leave Shivpal or Amar Singh. Shivpal has been arguing that his elder brother Mulayam should take over the reins from his immature son.

Shivpal was sacked from the ministry by Akhilesh on Saturday. This is the second time in a month that Akhilesh, 43, acted against his uncle, who is an organization man. In an emotional moment, young Akhilesh broke down and said in a choked voice that he was hurt when he was removed from the post of party president and replaced by Shivpal. He said he would not found a rival party and would not split the party. He reiterated that he will be obedient to his father who is the boss.

The post of the party president is crucial in election time since it is the president who finalizes the party candidates to contest in the elections. Akhilesh declared in the presence of all the leaders and workers that his uncle is working against him. “Nobody realizes how difficult it is for me to run the government.  Will you be able to form the government this time”, he challenged his father. Akhilesh said angrily that, “he (Shivpal) has described me as Aurangzeb and Mulayam as Shah Jahan.” At this juncture, Shivpal snatched the mike from his nephew and called him a ‘liar’. He also alleged that Akhilesh had declared at a private meeting  that he would float a new party. Shivpal said, ’I swear on Ganga-jal’. Mulayam became furious and left the meeting in a huff.

Earlier, Akhilesh shouted at his father who returned the compliments. “You took me to these heights… Where do I go from there?”, asked his father dramatically. “Netaji, you told me to fight injustice. Why should I form a new party,?” he questioned. The young Yadav became emotional when he saw his father supporting his detractors.

Mulayam said Akhilesh was corrupted by power. He is ‘Hawa Hawai Mantri’, said Mulayam. Taking on Amar Singh, Akhilesh told Mulayam, “Amar Singh sat next to you for three hours. If you want to remove me then do so but no outsider should be there.”  But Mulayam on his part said, all the sins committed by Amar Singh were forgiven and there is no question of leaving him now.

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