Lucknow: Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Friday met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his own brother Shivpal Singh Yadav in a desperate attempt to restore truce in the family-owned party. Addressing party workers in Lucknow after meeting the two warring leaders separately, Mulayam Singh also said the Samajwadi Party would never split till he was around.
Having already rejected Shivpal's resignation as the state party chief, Mulayam Singh added that Akhilesh Yadav would call on Shivpal, Akhilesh's uncle.
The Yadav patriarch, a former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and a former defence minister, ruled out any major differences between Shivpal, Ramgopal and Akhilesh. But Mulayam Singh's comments notwithstanding, it was clear that the cracks within the Samajwadi Party remained intact. As Shivpal's supporters shouted slogans against Akhilesh, the chief minister indicated that Shivpal would get back all his cabinet posts.
Shivpal earlier told his supporters that he would always stand by Mulayam but made no mention of Akhilesh and asked the gathering not to do anything that hurts the party's image. "Hum sab Netaji ke saath hain (We are all with Mulayam)," he said.
Shivpal was flanked by sacked Mining Minister Gayatri Prajapati and son Aditya Yadav, who has resigned as Pradesh Cooperative Federation chairman in solidarity with his father. The war within the Samajwadi Party erupted on Tuesday when Akhilesh ousted the Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary, a Shivpal protege, after earlier showing the door to Prajapati.
Mulayam then replaced Akhilesh as the state party chief with Shivpal. Hours later, a furious chief minister took away key portfolios held by Shivpal, igniting an unprecedented crisis in the Samajwadi Party.
A worried Mulayam -- who for years has run the party like a personal fiefdom -- was engaged in thrashing out an amicable solution to the biggest crisis of his personal life and political career, colleagues said.
Hundreds of Shivpal supporters massed outside his residence raised anti-Akhilesh slogans demanding that all the departments be restored to their leader.
They accused Akhilesh of humiliating Shivpal, and insisted that the chief minister should apologise to his uncle by touching his feet and seeking forgiveness. Many wept openly after coming to know that Shivpal Yadav had resigned from the cabinet.
More than two dozen Samajwadi Party legislators met Shivpal on Friday. Uttar Pradesh assembly speaker Mata Prasad Pandey also drove up to Shivpal's house. Mulayam, however, rejected the resignation of Shivpal as the state party chief. Informed sources told IANS that at a 15-minute one-on-one meeting at Mulayam's residence, Maulayam tore up the resignation letter of Shivpal.
Some Shivpal supporters, wearing T-shirts with images of Shivpal, also demanded action against party general secretary Ramgopal Yadav, who on Thursday termed Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh as the villain in the entire sordid episode.
On his part, Akhilesh has rejected Shivpal's resignation from the cabinet as PWD Minister.
There was a brief meeting between the two on Thursday night at which both apparently remained daggers drawn. An hour later, Shivpal, his wife Sarla and son Aditya Yadav faxed their resignations to Akhilesh and Mulayam.
Aditya is an elected chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Cooperative Federation while Sarla Yadav is chairperson of the Etawah Cooperative Federation.