It has now been revealed that Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav, in a fit of anger, sacked his son and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav from the post of Uttar Pradesh president for the party and ordered that his brother, Shivpal Yadav, be instated with immediate effect.
More so, the man who guided the mighty Mulayam Singh Yadav or Netaji to take this decision, which unleashed a civil war in the ruling Yadav clan, was none other than the "outsider" Amar Singh. In effect Mulayam only did what Amar Singh wanted him to – unceremoniously remove son Akhilesh from the most important organisational post in the party.
In doing so, he wanted to go for a shock and awe effect, leaving no time for Akhilesh to react or have an opportunity to resign. The bare minimum courtesy was not followed by Mulayam in case of his son, who rules the country's most populous state.
These revelations were made by Professor Ram Gopal Yadav, Rajya Sabha MP, Mulayam's brother and Secretary Parliamentary board of SP, in an unusually candid interview to ETV. It was the kind of interview where a ruling party leader bares all secrets, to the extent possible, about the internal strife within the Yadav clan.
Akhilesh too, on Wednesday, had made a mention of an "outsider interfering" in family matters, in an apparent reference to Amar Singh.
Incidentally, as the secretary of the Parliamentary board of the party, it was Ram Gopal Yadav who had signed on the SP supremo's order for the removal of Akhilesh Yadav and the appointment of Shivpal Yadav. But he says that he had no option.
The manner in which a straight and terse order came from Netaji to him over the phone, to promptly issue the letter, there was no chance of an argument, logical reasoning or clarification.
The moment Ram Gopal Yadav conveyed the message to Akhilesh – that his father had called the former five minutes back to order his removal in an angry and agitated tone – it set off a chain reaction.
Ram Gopal painted Amar Singh as the villain who, according to him, is using his proximity to Mulayam and the latter's "simplicity" to take undue advantage of the situation, which is detrimental to the party's interests. It's a different matter though that it does not paint Mulayam Singh Yadav in good light either.
Netaji comes off as a leader who cannot differentiate between good and bad; someone who keeps flip-flopping on his stand; and as someone who can easily be tricked into doing things in haste by someone he trusts, only to repent later.
"Netaji is a simple-hearted person in politics, even though he has built his party up from the scratch. Some people (read Amar Singh) have been taking undue advantage and those who kept abusing the party and even Netaji, now get him to do things that they want," Ram Gopal told ETV.
Ram Gopal went on to narrate how, despite the resistance and distaste of all concerned, Mulayam used his unquestioned authority to re-induct Amar Singh in the party and make him a Rajya Sabha MP, on a party ticket.
On being asked a question about Amar Singh professing his commitment to Mulayamvad and not Samajwad, Ram Gopal responded by saying that it was a manifestation of his thought that, "party bhad me jaye (let the party go to hell)...Kaise waqt me raita faila diya...agar koi dhikare aur apmanit karke hata de (Akhilesh's removal as state party chief) toh uska tatkalik reaction ho jata hai, baad me pachtana pade." Ram Gopal hoped that it was time Mulayam took action against him.
It is interesting to note that Ram Gopal did this plain speaking first at a press conference and later in greater detail in an interview with ETV, after meeting Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. Ram Gopal is a known Akhilesh backer in the ruling Yadav clan.
Another powerful leader, Azam Khan, who happens to be the Muslim face of the party too came out in the open to make it known that he had opposed Amar's candidature for Rajya Sabha.
But if one thought that Amar had got isolated and that Mulayam could be forced to act against Singh, one would be mistaken. The family feud in the Yadav family has gone too deep to rest all the blame on the controversial Rajya Sabha MP, who had only recently returned to the political mainstream from oblivion.
But there is yet another twist in the saga.
Minutes after Ram Gopal expressed his all pervasive anger against Amar Singh and reflected on Akhilesh's hurt, another man in the eye of the current family storm, Shivpal Singh Yadav, held a structured press conference and effectively negated Ram Gopal's assertions on Amar.
"Sabko jodne se sangathan majboot banta hai...party me har tarah ke log hone chahiye (an organisation gets strength by adding one and all. Party should have all kinds of people). This is election time and we should all remain united so that no questions are raised on us," Shivpal said.
It seems that now Amar has become the proxy through which salvos would be fired from either side.
Shivpal's take was equally interesting. To a pointed question on how he regarded Akhilesh's position as chief minister and whether he would like to see Mulayam replace Akhilesh as CM, Shivpal's response was loaded and open to interpretations:
"He has been made CM by the organisation and as such that is acceptable to me. As of now, Akhilesh is the chief minister. My current task is to attain majority in the elections and as per the questions raised for the (CM), a call will be taken after we get the majority mandate, " Shivpal said.
Interestingly, Shivpal was opposed to Akhilesh's elevation as chief minister in 2012 and does not appear to have changed his outlook yet.
Till Tuesday evening, Shivpal held 10 ministries and had control over nearly half of the budgetary allocations of the UP government. His profile has now been reduced to minister of social welfare, relief and rehabilitation.
Mulayam is reaching Lucknow later on Thursday evening. Rounds of meetings will start thereafter but it's important to note that the father and son have not spoken in the past few days, nor have the minister chacha and the chief minister bhatija (Akhilesh and his uncle). Trust Amar Singh to keep the pot boiling.
First Published On : Sep 15, 2016 18:30 IST