Samajwadi Party (SP) founder Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday said he remains the national president of the party and the decision taken at the national convention, called by a faction, stands null and void.
At a press conference called to clarify the Mulayam camp's stand on the ongoing rift, the party patriarch was visibly subdued and mostly remained tight-lipped on most of the controversial questions.
"I am national president of SP, and Akhilesh is the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh," Mulayam said stating that he merely wanted to clarify the position of his camp to dispel all confusion.
He also said that general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav had been expelled from the party for six years on 30 December and had lost his prerogative to call the 1 January national convention, which saw Mulayam dislodged as the party president.
Meanwhile, despite the apparent clarifications issued by Mulayam, the many twists and turns of the Samajwadi Party feud are far from culminating any time soon.
The Sunday's press conference and the preceding developments from the day also saw another interesting development in the form of the return of "outsider" Amar Singh to the fore, who had so far maintained a distance from the ongoing rift stating it was an "internal matter of the family." Singh was formally appointed party general secretary of the cleaving party only two days ago.
The Yadav Pari-'war' saga seems to have reached a climax with both factions pitted against each other to claim stake at the electoral symbol of the party, and with that over an undisputed claim on the party's throne.
Flanked by SP's recently reinstated leader Singh and brother Shivpal Yadav, Mulayam sought to appear unyielding when it came to conceding the party president's post to his son Akhilesh.
However, the preceding developments from the day saw the party's old horse softening up a bit as compared to his earlier stance, as he gave an emotional speech to party workers in a closed-door meeting.
Even as the party patriarch claimed that there was "no dispute" in his party, he conceded amid party workers that Akhilesh has indeed rebelled against him. According to exclusive quotes accessed by CNN-News18, Mulayam in a heart-felt speech said, "He has turned a rebel, but he is my son... What can I do if he is stubborn"
An emotional Mulayam also reportedly said that he will "let Akhilesh do whatever he wants," as he tried to reassure the SP cadres that "things will get better in the party," as quoted by Times Now.
Moreover, his brother and staunch supporter, Shivpal, who has also been at the eye of the storm, also sent out mixed signals stating that he wished for nothing but "unity and peace" within the party. He also reiterated his loyalty towards Mulayam, stating that no matter what he will stand by 'Netaji', a moniker given to Mulayam by his party cadre.
Meanwhile, Amar Singh, who has been repeatedly accused by the Akhilesh camp for stoking divisiveness within the family, has claimed that the signatures of the MLAs and the MPs on the affidavit pledging support to Akhilesh were forged, a fact that Mulayam also reiterated in his brief press address.
Akhilesh had claimed the support of "90 percent MPs and MLAs of the party" in front of the Election Commission (EC) in a bid to secure the party's traditional 'cycle' election symbol.
Akhilesh loyalist, and Mulayam's cousin Ram Gopal Yadav, however retorted to this, stating that he can assemble all party MLAs and MPs within an hour in front of the EC, if the poll panel so desires. Coming back on Singh's "forged signatures" remark, Ram Gopal clarified that they had submitted an affidavit with signatures of party leaders, however, the EC has requested for separate affidavits from each leader, and has given a deadline till 9 January for the same.
Meanwhile, in another interesting but seemingly disjointed development, the Ministry of Home Affairs relieved the Uttar Pradesh police of Singh's security, granting the Rajya Sabha MP 'Z' category security, based on "central agencies intelligence inputs." Interestingly, Singh was a protectee of the central CISF cover from 2008 to mid-2016 but this task was transferred to UP Police only a few months ago.
As of now, the Akhilesh camp has made it clear that while they respect 'Netaji' and he will remain a guiding figure, the national party president is Akhilesh and it was perhaps time that the party patriarch was more forthcoming on this and give his blessings to his son. The Mulayam camp, on the other hand, has refused to pass the baton yet, and continue to field on while negotiating for some form of truce.
Updated Date: Jan 08, 2017 19:41 PM