Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav appeared to snatch control of the Samajwadi Party on Sunday as a meeting called by his faction elected him party chief, replacing father Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Mulayam retorted by once again expelling his cousin, Ramgopal Yadav, for six years along with SP national vice-president Kiranmoy Nanda, who chaired the “extraordinary national convention”, and general secretary Naresh Agarwal, who attended it.
On a day of dramatic developments, the two sides engaged in tit-for-tat expulsions, with the convention called by party general secretary Ramgopal removing Akhilesh’s warring uncle, Shivpal Yadav, as state party chief, and showing the door to parliamentarian Amar Singh.
Here are some photographs capturing the action in Uttar Pradesh, where polls are due early this year.
Akhilesh and SP general secretary Ramgopal Yadav during the party’s national convention in Lucknow on Sunday. By 10am, MLA, MLCs and ministers show up in large numbers at the convention called by the Akhilesh faction. (PTI)
Akhilesh addresses the convention as Ramgopal looks on. The announcement to make Akhilesh the SP national president comes at 11:31am. For his part, Akhilesh says he will continue to serve his father as a son. But Shivpal, he adds, is working against the interests of the party. (PTI)
SP workers celebrate after the announcement. The Akhilesh faction claims that over 200 of the party’s 229 MLAs, around 30 MLCs and the majority of office-bearers of district units were present at the event. (PTI)
More celebrations in the Akhilesh camp. The convention authorises Akhilesh to constitute a national executive, parliamentary board and various state units, as required. (PTI)
Shivpal reaches Mulayam’s residence in Lucknow. Mulayam later describes as illegal all decisions, including the removal of Shivpal from the state chief post, taken at the convention. In a hard-hitting letter, he says the convention had not been called with permission of the national president and hence all decision taken there were invalid. (Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)
Shivpal supporters protest outside Mulayam’s residence. They stage sit-ins as tension grips Lucknow. (Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)
Heavy deployment of UP police and contingents of PAC outside the party office on Vikramadiyta Marg, where Shivpal supporters give securitymen a tough time in controlling the crowd. (PTI)
By 12:39pm — Barely an hour after the announcement, Akhilesh loyalists barge into the SP office in Lucknow and take control, prompting Shivpal to allege that the chief minister is “misusing” the police machinery by allowing such hooliganism. (Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)
Akhilesh supporters celebrate at the SP office. Later, Akhilesh tweets: “Sometimes to protect the ones you love you must make the right decision. What I did today was a tough decision but one that I had to take.” (Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)
Newly appointed SP state president Naresh Uttam Patel at the party office in Lucknow. He says his aim will be to ensure the victory of the ruling party in the upcoming assembly polls and make Akhilesh the chief minister again. (PTI)