In a belligerent move, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday commandeered the post of Samajwadi Party national president, removing his father Mulayam Singh Yadav and getting himself “unanimously elected” at a national convention of the party.
The resolution passed to this effect also listed two other crucial decisions. One is the removal of Shivpal Yadav as state president and the other, the sacking of senior party leader Amar Singh from the SP. The daring move is, however, mired in controversy as Mulayam has termed the convention “unconstitutional”.
The latest developments have dashed all hopes of a rapprochement between father and son. Such hopes had been ignited on Saturday after Mulayam withdrew the expulsion of Akhilesh and Ram Gopal from the party for six years within 24 hours.
Despite his pugnacious move, Akhilesh swore allegiance to his father. “Some people have conspired to worsen things within the party and create misunderstanding. But as a son, I have the highest regard for ‘Netaji’ (Mulayam). He is the supreme leader of the party and I will continue to work according to his directions,” he said. “I am Netaji’s son. No one can hurt our relationship. I will do anything to protect him and the party,” he asserted.
Soon, an understandably upset Mulayam retaliated by sacking party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav for six years, for the third time since October, for anti-party activities. Ram Gopal, a cousin of Mulayam, has been the brain behind Sunday’s SP convention. Mulayam also expelled senior leaders Naresh Agarwal and Kiranmoy Nanda. Interestingly, Mulayam has not initiated any action against Akhilesh.
Mulayam has also called a national convention on Thursday.
A resolution adopted at Sunday’s convention authorised Akhilesh to reorganise the party’s national executive, the parliamentary board and the state units, anointing him as the supreme authority in the party. The resolution states that Mulayam would remain the “sanrakshak” (patron) and “marg darshak” (one who guides the way) of the party.
Ram Gopal told reporters that a copy of the resolutions would be sent to the Election Commission.
What surprised political watchers the most was the presence of top party leaders on the dais alongside Akhilesh, despite Mulayam issuing a warning that those attending the Sunday’s convention would face stringent action.
Some of Mulayam’s hitherto closest aides, including Rajya Sabha MPs Naresh Agarwal, Kiranmoy Nanda and Reoti Raman Singh, were there. But leaders like Azam Khan and Beni Prasad Verma stayed away.
Sunday’s “emergency” convention, though called at a short notice, saw the presence of over 4,000 delegates, giving a clear indication that Akhilesh held a decisive sway over the party.
In a letter released after the convention, Mulayam slammed Ram Gopal for anti-party activities. Without naming him, he wrote, “some people are helping the BJP just to save their skin from the CBI”. Ram Gopal’s son and daughter-in-law are under the CBI scanner for their involvement with tainted Noida engineer Yadav Singh, kingpin of a multi-crore scam involving black money and money laundering.
In another important development, Akhilesh’s supporters have forcefully gained possession of the SP headquarters here. Hundreds of SP men shouting chants of “Jai Akhilesh” stormed the office and tore down the name plate of Shivpal Yadav at the state president’s room. Naresh Uttam has been installed as the new state president.
ACTION IN WAITING
- Who all and how many delegates will attend the SP national convention called by Mulayam on Thursday.
- To whom will Election Commission allot party’s election symbol ‘cycle’— Akhilesh-led SP or to Mulayam-led SP?
- Will Akhilesh be able to form a grand alliance with Congress, Ajit Singh’s RLD, JD(U) and Peace Party to take on BJP and BSP?