The ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh split down the middle with the faction headed by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav removing Mulayam Singh Yadav as party chief and appointing him in his place at a convention in which the group claimed support of the majority of legislators and district units.
On a day of face paced developments, the two sides engaged in mutual recriminatory expulsions with the convention called by Ram Gopal Yadav removing Akhilesh’s warring uncle Shivpal Yadav as state party chief, and showing the door to “outsider” Amar Singh, who has been blamed for the feud in the Yadav clan.
Mualyam retorted by again expelling his cousin Ram Gopal for six years along with national vice president Kiranmoy Nanda, who chaired the convention, and general secretary Naresh Agarwal for taking part in it.
43-year-old Akhilesh was “unanimously” crowned the SP president as Ram Gopal moved a proposal to make Mulayam, the founder president of SP, the party patron at the convention, where the CM’s faction claimed that over 200 of the party’s 229 MLAs, around 30 MLCs, besides majority of office bearers of district units were present.
The convention also authorised Akhilesh to constitute a national executive, parliamentary board and various state units, as required, and inform the Election Commission of the developments at the earliest.
The proposal to make Akhilesh SP chief was welcomed by a huge applause by nearly 5,000 partymen who had gathered at the sprawling Janeshwar Misra Park here.
Mulayam termed as illegal all decisions taken at the convention. In a hard-hitting letter, he said the convention had not been called with permission of the national president and so all decision taken there were invalid.
Although Mulayam warned that participation in the convention will be taken as indiscipline and action will be initiated against those attending it, almost all senior leaders who had been longtime associates of Mulayam shared the dais with Ram Gopal and Akhilesh.
Addressing the convention, Akhilesh said he respected his father more than ever and that he would stand against those conspiring against the party while Ram Gopal attacked Shivpal for working in an “arbitrary” manner, alleging tickets were being given to those who are not even members of the party.
The fresh developments which almost left both Mulayam and younger brother Shivpal isolated in the party came a day after SP revoked the expulsion of Akhilesh and Ram Gopal amid the running bitter turf battle in the Yadav clan which threatens to affect its prospects in the upcoming Assembly election.
In more signs of defiance, Akhilesh appointed MLC Naresh Uttam as the new state president, replacing Shivpal.
Soon after the appointment of the new state unitpresident, supporters of Akhilesh laid siege to the state SP headquarters here in the high security VIP zone and forcibly wrenched out the nameplate of Shivpal to vent their ire.