Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday said he would not form a party and would step down if Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav desires it. Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav, however, said Mr. Akhilesh Yadav would not be removed from the party.
Mr. Akhilesh Yadav got emotional at a meeting of party legislators, ministers and MPs convened by Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav at the party headquarters and broke into tears after making the announcement. "Let Mulayam install a chief minister who he feels is honest. All these years, I had toiled hard for the welfare of the people. Merey pita, merey guru hain [my father is my guru],” he said, adding that many people were trying to create divisions within his family using various machinations and that he had taught himself how to oppose any wrong-doing.
Mr. Akhilesh Yadav's uncle, Shivpal Yadav, was present at the meeting, which also witnessed the father and the son shouting at each other and heated exchange of words on the dais, leading to an abrupt end of the meeting.
I cannot forget the work done by Shivpal Yadav: Mulayam
Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav said at the meeting, "Instead of fighting our weaknesses we are fighting amongst ourselves. If you can't face criticism, you can't be a leader." Some ministers are just sycophants, he said, adding, "Amar Singh has helped me a lot; Amar is my brother. I cannot forget the work done by Shivpal Yadav. I can’t tolerate anything against Amar & Shivpal. Amar saved me from going to jail. Mere donning of red cap does not make one Samajwadi. The party is facing a difficult situation and its members should not fight with each other.''
Rival factions clash
Supporters of the rival factions clashed outside the party headquarters ahead of the meeting. Followers of Mr. Akhilesh Yadav and Mr. Shivpal Yadav exchanged blows as tension mounted before the meet. Police used force to disperse the party men who tried to break the cordon to march towards the party office. Tension was palpable much before the meeting began with supporters of Mr. Akhilesh Yadav, who sought to mount pressure on the leadership in support of the Chief Minister.
The SP on Sunday was on the edge of a split, after general secretary and Rajya Sabha member Ram Gopal Yadav was expelled from the party for six years by Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav.
The expulsion came just hours after Mr. Akhilesh Yadav once again sacked Mr. Shivpal Yadav and three other senior ministers, considered close to Amar Singh, from his Cabinet. After the meeting, the Chief Minister recommended to Governor Ram Naik that Mr. Shivpal Yadav, Narad Rai and Om Prakash Singh (all Cabinet ministers) and Sayeda Shadab Fatima (MoS — Independent charge) be sacked from his ministry. This was accepted immediately.
(With inputs from PTI, ANI)