SP splits, Akhilesh faction upstages Mulayam as party chief

SP splits, Akhilesh faction upstages Mulayam as party chief

SP splits, Akhilesh faction upstages Mulayam as party chief

The ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh today split down the middle with the faction headed by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav removing Mulayam Singh Yadav as party chief and appointing him in his place at a convention in which the group claimed support of the majority of legislators and district units.

On a day of face paced developments, the two sides engaged in mutual recriminatory expulsions with the convention called by Ram Gopal Yadav removing Akhilesh's warring uncle Shivpal Yadav as state party chief, and showing the door to "outsider" Amar Singh, who has been blamed for the feud in the Yadav clan.

Mualyam retorted by again expelling his cousin Ram Gopal for six years along with national vice president Kiranmoy Nanda, who chaired the convention, and general secretary Naresh Agarwal for taking part in it.

43-year-old Akhilesh was "unanimously" crowned the SP president as Ram Gopal moved a proposal to make Mulayam, the founder president of SP, the party patron at the convention, where the CM's faction claimed that over 200 of the party's 229 MLAs, around 30 MLCs, besides majority of office bearers of district units were present.

The convention also authorised Akhilesh to constitute a national executive, parliamentary board and various state units, as required, and inform the Election Commission of the developments at the earliest.

The proposal to make Akhilesh SP chief was welcomed by a huge applause by nearly 5,000 partymen who had gathered at the sprawling Janeshwar Misra Park here.

Mulayam termed as illegal all decisions taken at the convention. In a hard-hitting letter, he said the convention had not been called with permission of the national president and so all decision taken there were invalid.

In a counter move, he also convened a national convention of the party on January 5 at the same venue here.

Although Mulayam warned that participation in the convention will be taken as indiscipline and action will be initiated against those attending it, almost all senior leaders who had been longtime associates of Mulayam shared the dais with Ram Gopal and Akhilesh.

Addressing the convention, Akhilesh said he respected his father more than ever and that he would stand against those conspiring against the party while Ram Gopal attacked Shivpal for working in an "arbitrary" manner, alleging tickets were being given to those who are not even members of the party.

The fresh developments which almost left both Mulayam and younger brother Shivpal isolated in the party came a day after SP revoked the expulsion of Akhilesh and Ram Gopal amid the running bitter turf battle in the Yadav clan which threatens to affect its prospects in the upcoming Assembly election.

In more signs of defiance, Akhilesh appointed MLC Naresh Uttam as the new state president, replacing Shivpal.

Soon after the appointment of the new state unit president, supporters of Akhilesh laid siege to the state SP headquarters here in the high security VIP zone and forcibly wrenched out the nameplate of Shivpal to vent their ire. 

Earlier this morning as soon as the national convention got underway, Mulayam issued a letter declaring it "unconstitutional".

"Today a so-called convention has been convened by Ram Gopal. This is against party constitution and discipline. This has been convened to damage the party," he said.

"The parliamentary board of the party declares all the proposals, decisions and the convention itself illegal and expels Ram Gopal, who convened the convention, for six years," the letter said.

Soon after his name was proposed as the national president of the party, Akhilesh said, "Those who conspired against the party, damaged it and also posed problems before the national president...should know that my respect for the national president (Mulayam Singh) will be more than before."

"...People might raise questions and level allegations but I said this before and I say it again that as his son if there is any conspiracy against the party and him it is my duty to stand against them," he said.

The chief minister said, "All want that SP comes back to power but there are some who do not want this...Netaji would be most elated if the party forms the next government...I have been given the responsibility to make the next government one more time.

"Netaji's respect and position is supreme for us...These three-four months are very important....Don't know who all can come together and force certain decisions."
In his address at the convention, Ram Gopal said that all are aware that the government was working well but two persons conspired and got Akhilesh removed from the state president's post and posed a big problem in the party.

"The state unit president gave tickets to those who were not even member of the party...Despite directives from the national president, the state unit president revoked the suspension of those shown the door...It is clear that some people do no want SP to return to power and Akhilesh to become the chief minister again," he said, attacking Shivpal.

When the problems became insurmountable the party workers gave him a request in writing to convene an emergency convention and he waited for two months before convening today's meeting, Akhilesh said.

Reacting to the developments, senior SP leader and MP, Naresh Agrawal said, "When lakhs of people have chosen Akhilesh as the party president, then who has the right to remove anyone.

"Netaji is our leader, we all respect him. I would like to tell Netaji that if your son is moving forward and is making you proud, then you should shun your relations with the people who are trying to break your family and because of whom there is a feud within the party.

"If Netaji still doesn't pay heed to the public opinion, then it is unfortunate," he said.
Heavy deployment of UP police and contingents of PAC was seen outside the party office on Vikramadiyta Marg where supporters of Shivpal too protested his removal from the post of state SP chief, often coming to blows and giving the police a trying time in controlling the crowd.

Akhilesh loyalists barged into the premises, prompting Shivpal to allege that the chief minister was "misusing" the police machinery by allowing such hooliganism.

Soon after arriving at the party office to take charge, Naresh Uttam said that his aim would be to ensure the victory of SP in the coming Assembly polls and make Akhilesh the chief minister again.

To a question, he said Akhilesh will decide the tickets on the remaining seats.
Uttam also addressed party workers in the office, asking them to work for the party's thumping victory in the upcoming battle of ballots.