Akhilesh’s team denies orchestrated feud

Amid the ongoing tussle within the ruling Samajwadi Party, a screenshot of an e-mail communiqué between Steve Jarding, political consultant to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, and his deputy Adwait Vikram got tongues wagging in the political circles of Uttar Pradesh.

The e-mail allegedly suggested that Mr. Jarding was advising the SP top leadership to escalate the factional feud within the party to promote the image of Akhilesh Yadav. Some sections of the media highlighted as a “leaked e-mail”.

It comes at a time when Opposition parties have been alleging that the SP was orchestrating the internal feud to merely augment the popularity of Akhilesh Yadav ahead of the upcoming State Assembly polls.

Mr. Jarding, who teaches at the Harvard Kennedy School and is a veteran political consultant and strategist of many campaigns, came out with an open dismissal of the alleged e-mail interaction, calling it a “slanderous campaign”.

In a strong denial of the “outrageous remarks”, Mr. Jarding said the screenshot “impersonates” him advising his deputy to allegedly advise the SP party leaders to pretend that there are differences within the party.


“It is a slanderous campaign by the political opponents of the CM who clearly feel threatened of his impeccable image. It is clear that the Opposition in Uttar Pradesh lacks agenda and wants to use his political advisers as bait to target the CM for an unblemished record,” Mr. Jarding said in a formal rebuttal.

Mr. Jarding has managed many high-profile election campaigns since the 1980s, and has been the political consultant for the Democrats in the U.S. Hillary Clinton and Al Gore have been among his clients.

“The e-mail is a fake. It is poorly written, full of errors and actually is dated weeks before I even began talks with anyone on the CM’s team. It is the work of amateurs who clearly work for the CM’s political opponents who apparently greatly fear the CM and his positive stature with the people of U.P.,” Mr. Jarding told The Hindu in an e-mail.

Political tactics

“Such political tactics reflect the immaturity and desperation of the Opposition as not enough research was done to verify the facts and draft a properly worded mail. The English is grammatically incorrect and the mail is dated July 24, 2016, whereas I started working with the CM not until mid-August,” read Mr. Jarding’s statement.

“Further, the fact that Mr. Steve Bouchard is marked on the mail proves its falsity, since Mr. Bouchard has never travelled to India and does not work on this project,” it stated.

Taking action

He said he was consulting his lawyers and would be taking action against journalist Rahul Kanwal, who allegedly circulated the screenshot on Twitter, “for not adhering to the journalistic standards and claiming that the snapshot of the fake mail is authentic without any verification of facts”.

“Mr. Kanwal will have to prove it in a court of law, the authenticity of the mail and its content,” Mr. Jarding said.

Azam Khan brokers truce in Samajwadi

As the Samajwadi Party teetered on the brink of a split following the explusion on Friday of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle, Ramgopal Yadav by party supremo Mulayam Singh, senior party leader Azam Khan is said to have brokered a truce between father and son.

Speaking after the decision to revoke the expulsions, Mr. Khan said the crisis was over for now and the father and son had patched up.

“It (Akhilesh-Ramgopal expulsion) could have led to a crisis for which we would have had no answer. That crisis is over for now,” the Urban Development Minister said.

Supporters clash

Earlier in the day, Mr Mulayam Singh convened a meeting of party legislators but less than 20 MLAs turned up for it, whereas more than 200 MLAs, MLCs and party candidates attended a meeting by Mr. Akhilesh Yadav at his official residence at 5, Kalidas Marg, in signs of the shifting balance in the party.

The mood outside the party office and the residences of Mr. Mulayam Singh and Mr. Akhilesh Yadav also ran high as supporters of the junior Yadav assembled in large numbers shouting slogans.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 8:38:31 AM |

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