Even as the nascent truce in Samajwadi Party appeared to be in shreds with expulsion of his associates, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today put up a brave face saying 'Samajwadi Pariwar' is united to face all challenges.
"Samajwadi Pariwar is as united as it was before and, in days to come, the challenges before the state and the government, as communal forces (which) want to make an entry somehow, will be faced unitedly," the Chief Minister said, a day after his uncle Shivpal, with whom he was locked in a turf war, expelled seven party functionaries, including three MLCs, considered close to him.
Akhilesh, who was flanked by Shivpal, was speaking to reporters after a meeting of the state cabinet chaired by him. This was the first cabinet meeting after a week-long crisis in the Yadav family which saw the feud between factions led by Shivpal and his nephew Akhilesh coming out into the open.
"The Samajwadi Pariwar will together work to ensure that Samajwadi government returns to power and takes the state in the direction of development and prosperity," said the chief minister.
Referring to the feud in the family, the Chief Minister said he wanted to tell all leaders, office bearers and others that "there are no problems in the party". The chief minister, who is known to take questions from the media, however, made an early exit today.
The war in Uttar Pradesh's first family appeared to be far from over, with Shivpal, who has been made SP's state unit chief by party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav in place of Akhilesh, yesterday asserting himself by expelling the party functionaries considered close to Akhilesh.
Protesting against the action, a number of youth office bearers of the party's front wings resigned, claiming that "Akhilesh" is their "undisputed" leader.
While two youths of SP Chatra Sabha (students wing) climbed atop a TV transmission tower here to protest the mass sacking, some "Akhileshwadi" SP youth leaders wrote resignation letters in blood.
To register her protest, state secretary of Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha Sapna Agrahri made a cut on her hand and dipped her finger in blood to write her resignation.
Akhilesh, however, sought to pacify his supporters, asserting there were no problems in the party.
He said that at the cabinet meeting it was discussed with ministers as to how to propagate achievements and programmes of the Samajwadi Party government.
Among the major decisions taken by the cabinet, Akhilesh said, pension of expert artisans will be raised to Rs 2,000 from Rs 1,000.
Besides, it was decided to increase fee and allowances of government counsel in high court and follow the same for the district level counsel in future.
The feud spilled into the open after Akhilesh stripped Shivpal of key portfolios on September 13, hours after his father Mulayam replaced him with Shivpal as the party's state unit chief.
A rapprochement appeared on the cards on Saturday after Akhilesh restored all but one portfolios of Shivpal and promised to support him as SP's state unit president.
However, Sunil Singh Sajan, Anand Bhadauria and Sanjay Lathar -- all MLCs -- were shown the door by Shivpal for making "derogatory remarks" against party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, indulging in anti-party activities and indiscipline.
Besides the MLCs, state chief of SP youth brigade Mohd Ebad, state president of SP yuvjan sabha Brijesh Yadav, national president of SP youth brigade Gaurav Dubey, and state chief of chatra sabha Digvijay Singh Dev were sacked from the party on similar grounds by Shivpal, drawing protest from pro-Akhilesh camp.