Samajwadi Party rift may end soon? Shivpal may get his portfolios back as Ramgopal steps in to mediate

The Yadav brother who has always sided with Akhilesh has finally stepped in and assured that the problems between the Yadavs won't last for too long.

Ramgopal Yadav, who according to reports reached Lucknow to meet Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday, said that there is no crisis in Samajwadi party at all, "there is no sankat or rift."

Ramgopal did not shy away and hinted that Amar Singh (bahri log) are taking advantage of Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Ramgopal also said Akhilesh and Mulayam are likely to have a meeting in the coming days.

Ramgopal, while accepting that a chief minister should have been taken into confidence before being asked to step down as UP party president, hinted that a compromise formula is being worked out by SP to iron out differences between Akhilesh and his uncle Shivpal.

Reports also said that Mulayam Singh Yadav will convene a parliamentary board meeting on Friday in Lucknow. "A recipe of disaster" is how many channels described the ongoing tussle in SP, especially with the crucial Assembly polls merely three months away.

As all the key leaders in SP rushed to damage control, Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra, a close friend of Amar Singh and Shivpal, also met Mulayam in Delhi on Wednesday. According to The Times of India, Akhilesh has stopped all communication with his father and uncle.

Matter escalated on Wednesday when after meeting the party supremo Mulayam Singh, Shivpal told him that he was being painted as a villain despite following orders. Shivpal, who is the younger brother of Mulayam, reached Delhi to meet the party chief at his official residence. In his over four hour long meeting, Shivpal told Mulayam that in the past four-and-a-half years, he has followed the party supremo's directions despite having a difference of opinion on certain issues, according to PTI.

Sources close to Shivpal said he gave examples that as a senior minister in the Akhilesh government, he never publicly opposed the decisions taken by Akhilesh or Mulayam even though he may have expressed a difference of opinion to them in private.

Later talking to reporters, Shivpal, however, rejected suggestions that there were differences within the party and the Yadav family. "Neither I nor Netaji (Mulayam) is angry. We all are happy... There are no differences," he said.

He also said that the decision on Cabinet portfolios is the discretion of the chief minister. "But Netaji has decided to appoint me as the party's state unit chief. My role is to bring back SP to power in next polls. I will fulfil my responsibility...I will not resign...I am still part of the cabinet," he said.

News18 however reported that there are chances that Shivpal might get his portfolios back. News18 also reported that there was a chance that Akhilesh could be made the party national president.

Akhilesh, with his youthful appeal and his promise of the SP turning over a new leaf, had played a major role in convincing the UP electorate that the lawlessness, which marked the SP's earlier tenure between 2002 and 2007, would be a thing of the past.

With Assembly polls inching closer, Akhilesh has been concentrating on sprucing up the image of his government and recently overturned the decision of his father on the merger of the Quami Ekta Dal (QED).

Shivpal was said to have shepherded the merger of gangster-politician Mukhtar Ansari's QED with Samajwadi Party.

When Akhilesh publicly nixed the merger Shivpal felt he was publicly humiliated by his nephew.

QED, an eastern UP-based political party is headed by ex-SP MP Afzal Ansari, who is the elder brother of Mukhtar, now in jail in connection with the murder of a BJP MLA.

Akhilesh was adamant that the merger be called off because he wanted to maintain his clean image, once he had sought to establish by opposing DP Yadav in the party before the 2012 Assembly polls. His stand had won the party political mileage after it had lost power in 2007 on poor law and order, a matter snowballing into a major poll issue this time too.

Fearing that these issues might damage SP's electoral prospects, Mulayam has of late been quite critical of corruption and land grabbing by some ministers. This prompted the chief minister to sack two of them — Mining Minister Gayatri Prajapati and Panchayati Raj Minister Raj Kishore Singh — recently in an exercise to come out as "Mr Clean".

The image of his government took a hit so much so that BJP president Amit Shah kept saying at public meetings that UP is run by three-and-a-half CMs — Akhilesh, Shivpal and Mulayam, besides Azam Khan.

Recently, Mulayam gave a stern warning to Akhilesh that the party would split into factions if Shivpal chose to walk away after the senior cabinet minister threatened to resign claiming that his repeated pleas to root out corruption was going unheeded.

Analysts say fragmentation of the vote bank will be of no help to the Yadav clan. As of now, all eyes are on Mulayam, who is huddled in a meeting with senior party leaders in Delhi for a patch-up between "chacha-bhatija (uncle-nephew)".

The internal tussles within the SP have also given fuel to opposition BSP to target it.

BSP chief Mayawati recently urged the Election Commission to declare the state elections early — by January-February next year, arguing that the family feud within the ruling SP and "jungle raj" in UP would lead to chaos in governance in coming months and cause difficulty in holding "independent, impartial and peaceful" elections in view of "infighting within the first family".

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Sep 15, 2016 13:15 PM

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