On Thursday, the Samajwadi Party sent out a message of unity in Lucknow where the Yadav family – the warring father, son and uncle – flagged off Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s rath yatra.
Akhilesh’s father Mulayam Singh and uncle Shivpal Yadav were both present at the event. The show of strength with Mulayam flanked by Shivpal on one side and Akhilesh on the other, ended days of speculation of an apparent split in the party ahead of the state Assembly polls early next year.
The presence of Mulayam, Shivpal and Akhilesh on one platform came days after bitter acrimony in the Yadav clan that saw tit-for-tat sackings and expulsions of followers of the warring camps.
“I congratulate Akhilesh for the yatra and wish him all success,” said Mulayam wishing his son.
“Akhilesh ko hum shubhkamna detey hain (I wish him well),” Shivpal said at the grand event also adding that the “vikas sey vijay ki aur yatra” will halt BJP in its tracks.
“Our target is to prevent BJP from coming to power in the state in the crucial 2017 elections,” he emphasised.
Ahead of the flag off event, Ramgopal Yadav’s son and MP Akshay Yadav said, “People will vote for Akhilesh. We will contest in his name and win.”
Before flagging off the highly-publicised rath yatra to highlight the development work undertaken by Akhilesh in the last over four years, the 43-year-old chief minister said the “tradition” of yatras was started in the state by ‘netaji’.
“I want to thank youths for this historic event. Netaji had taken out yatra and I am going on for the yatra of the third time. From this yatra, we appeal to people to vote in favour of our party,” said the young CM.
“Elections are round the corner and there will be comparison of works done by government. SP government has continuously focused on development without discrimination on basis of caste.
This election is decisive in changing politics of the country and SP will form government again in 2017. In future (after 2017) also, only SP and its socialist ideology can bring a change in the country,” he added.
On the recent controversy within the party and family, Akhilesh said, “Due to some conspiracies we were a bit rattled, but in the days to come we will be able to form government again.”
(With inputs from PTI)