Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh on Friday expelled his defiant son, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, from the party for six years for “gross indiscipline” a day after the junior Yadav issued a parallel list of candidates for the upcoming Assembly polls.
SP national general secretary and Mulayam’s cousin Ramgopal Yadav, who was siding with the CM, was also sacked for “weakening the party” and insulting the supremo through his comments. The “tough action” was necessary to “save the party,” Mr. Mulayam said.
The party would soon decide on a new CM, said Mr. Mulayam, who had on Wednesday already ruled out projecting his son as the CM candidate.
“I will take the strictest action to save the SP. For us, the SP is the priority. We don’t care for posts. Now we want to save the party,” Mr. Mulayam told the media. He accused Mr. Ramgopal of hurting Mr. Akhilesh’s future prospects by instigating him. “He is trying to end Akhilesh’s future. Akhilesh is unable to understand this,” said the supremo. Asserting that he was the boss, Mr. Mulayam said the party was built by his “hard work.”
Earlier on Friday, Mr. Mulayam had issued show cause notices to Mr. Akhilesh and Mr. Ramgopal asking why disciplinary action should not be taken against them. “Your issue of a list parallel to that of the national president is gross indiscipline,” read Mr. Mulayam’s notice to his son. Mr. Mulayam also reprimanded Mr. Ramgopal for insulting him and siding with Mr. Akhilesh.
“Through your comments in the media, you have said you will campaign for the candidates chosen by Akhilesh Yadav. You also said that Akhilesh Yadav will run the party better than Mulayam Singh. Your comments amount to gross indiscipline and insult to the national president,” the notice read.
Governor Ram Naik said there was no constitutional crisis as yet. The matter was restricted to the party so far, Mr. Naik told a news channel, adding he was keeping a close watch on the situation.
Sacked Ramgopal calls ‘emergency’ meeting of SP
Soon after he was sacked from the Samajwadi Party, Mulayam Singh’s cousin Ramgopal appealed to party members to attend an “emergency” national convention on January 1 at the Ram Manohar Lohia University here to “chalk out a path for the future.”
Mr. Ramgopal claimed he had received representations from thousands of party members. While taking a dig at Shivpal Yadav, who is at loggerheads with his nephew Akhilesh, Mr. Ramgopal said in his one-page appeal that since it was looking likely that Mr. Akhilesh would return to power based on his work, “some people started anti-party activities to hurt the party and this could damage the party during elections.”
The party supremo, however, said Mr. Ramgopal’s call for an emergency national convention was “unconstitutional” and only he, as the boss, had the power to do so. Mr. Shivpal Yadav even issued a letter of warning to party workers asking them to not participate in the “programme” called by Mr. Ramgopal.
Threat of action
“The programme is totally against the constitution of the party and in violation of party discipline. It has been called with the intention of harming the party,” said Mr. Shivpal, threatening that “strict action” would be taken against anyone attending the meet or offering support to it.
Mr. Ramgopal said his sacking was ‘illegal’ as he and Akhilesh were removed from the party even before they could reply to the notices issued to them.
“After a notice is issued, replies need to be given. Without taking the reply and hearing the other side, action is not taken even against the biggest criminals, and if action is taken, the court rejects it. They are acting bigger than courts,” Mr. Ramgopal said.
The Rajya Sabha MP also accused Mr. Mulayam of indulging in “unconstitutional acts” and said that Mr. Mulayam “does not know the party constitution well.”
He said Mr. Mulayam had released the list of candidates without convening a meeting of the SP parliamentary board. Many Akhilesh supporters came out on the streets in protest and tore down posters of Shivpal Yadav. A supporter who tried to immolate himself was rushed to hospital.
Mr. Ramgopal said the convention called by him would go on as per schedule and that he still held the post of general secretary.
A defiant Akhilesh had on Thursday circulated a list of more than 200 candidates preferred by him, a day after his father formally released a list of 325 candidates that omitted many of his loyalists while including choices of his bête noire, uncle Shivpal Yadav.
In signs of rebellion, Mr. Akhilesh convened a meeting of MLAs, ministers and leaders denied ticket and instructed them to contest the elections from their preferred seats despite their names not featuring on Mr. Mulayam’s list. These candidates were told to fight elections in his name.
In response to this, late on Thursday night, Mr. Shivpal released another list of 68 candidates for seats that were not previously announced.