A day before the Samajwadi Legislature Party meets here to elect its leader, SP president Mulayam Singh and his son Akhilesh Yadav said lawlessness would not be tolerated, and law and order would be strictly maintained. Both of them dubbed the recent incidents of hooliganism, allegedly by SP workers, a “conspiracy” by some elements to defame the party.

In another development, Chief Secretary Anup Mishra and Director-General of Police Atul were on Friday summoned by Mr. Singh, but the outcome of the in-camera meeting at the party office was not known. However, informed sources said Mr. Singh asked the officers to ensure maintenance of law and order and bring anti-social elements to book.

Addressing party workers who had come to offer him Holi greetings, Mr. Singh said the alleged involvement of SP workers in the recent incidents was a conspiracy by vested interests. He said the new government would not hesitate to punish the guilty even if they were party workers.

The spate of violent incidents within hours of the SP's victory in the just-concluded Assembly elections, with allegations being levelled against its workers, clearly had the leadership worried. Mr. Yadav issued a statement late on Tuesday night condemning the hooliganism in Jhansi and Firozabad and the attack on journalists.

On Friday, he said no leniency would be shown to those indulging in anti-social activities.

Giving a clean chit to SP workers, Mr. Yadav, who is the State unit president, told reporters that the leadership would not hesitate to expel them if they were found guilty of indulging in violence and arson. The incidents were the handiwork of some persons who could not come to terms with the party's victory. Even as he condemned the efforts to malign the party, Mr. Yadav said the “law should take its course.”

Mr. Yadav blamed some officials for not fulfilling their responsibility and said those who did not come down heavily on the anti-social elements would be dealt with strictly.