Lucknow: Signalling a rapprochement, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday said he will extend all support to his uncle Shivpal, with whom he was locked in a bitter turf war that spilled out into the open following Shivpal's appointment as SP's state unit president.
"I have myself congratulated SP's UP unit president Shivpal Yadav after meeting him at his residence.... I will extend all my support to Shivpalji," Akhilesh told reporters, trying to drive home the point that all is well in the party after the public feud between the factions led by the two leaders.
Akhilesh's remarks came a day after he said that he felt "very sad" when he was replaced with Shivpal as the state party president by his father and party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and demanded that he be given a say in the ticket distribution for the 2017 Assembly election.
Last night, he announced that his disgruntled uncle will be given back his portfolios and Gayatri Prajapati will be reinducted as Cabinet minister, issues which had triggered an all-out war between the two.
Mulayam yesterday met both Akhilesh and brother Shivpal to work out a truce between them.
Asked about his demand on ticket distribution, Akhilesh today said, "It's going to be my examination (in elections). I will certainly say that much to the national president whom I like."
"Politics is not a game for me, it is a serious business. I am a player...have played football and cricket also...I don't score self goal," he said.
About protests by his supporters, Akhilesh said, "I have appealed them not to engage in any sloganeering or use any posters or hoardings. It's election time and everyone should go to booth level and spread awareness on the good work done by the government."
"Wherever the youths go, the direction changes. We have a great organisation," he said.
Apparently attacking BJP, he said that "some parties" are "expert" in propaganda and "they have got a chance. They must be happy that samajwadis are fighting".
When asked about his meeting with Shivpal, he said in a lighter vein, "You can say anything. You are saying I had lunch there, but I only had tea".
On party's poll prospects, Akhilesh said, "Samajwadis are at number one. They surveys are pointing to it. When we only promised to work in 2012, we got tremendous support and now we have fullfilled all the promises. We will form government again."
Earlier, hundreds of Akhilesh supporters gathered outside party office and later at party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav's residence.
Suporters of Shivpal also gathred outside his residence.
On intervention of Mulayam, Akhilesh directed youth workers to meet him at his residence and he himself reached uncle Shivpal's residence to "congratulate him".
Mulayam also reached the party office and addressed the youth workers, even chiding them for their protest while he praised his brother Shivpal.
The Chief Minister had stripped Shivpal of key ministerial portfolios on September 13, hours after he was replaced with Shivpal as the party's state unit chief by Mulayam. In a dramatic development, Shivpal resigned from all party and Cabinet posts on Thursday night, deepening the strife in the party.