Patch-up efforts begin in SP

Akhilesh, Mulayam in marathon peace talks

Patch-up efforts begin in SP

Two days after dethroning his father Mulayam Singh Yadav as the Samajwadi Party president, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav met him here on Tuesday and spoke to him at length, raising hopes of a rapprochement

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Akhilesh called Mulayam, who was in Delhi in the morning, and the SP patriarch rushed to the state capital apparently for the meeting.

According to sources, Mulayam and Akhilesh had a “frank” and “emotional” discussion on the “current state of affairs” in the party for more than three hours. Mulayam’s brother Shivpal Singh Yadav, who too was in Delhi, joined the father-son duo later.

Akhilesh, who had ousted Mulayam as the party’s national president at its emergency national convention on Sunday, offered to “relinquish” the post, but on certain conditions.

The sources said the chief minister sought absolute authority over the selection of candidates for the forthcoming Assembly election; shunting of Shivpal into national politics; and the removal of the party’s Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh.

He also demanded that all his supporters expelled from the party by Shivpal be reinstated and that he be projected as the chief ministerial face in the polls.

Mulayam, for his part, wanted SP general secretary Ram Gopal ousted from the post, sources said. Mulayam also met senior party leaders loyal to him and discussed the “compromise formula” suggested by Akhilesh.

The sources said the first round of talks between the father and son remained “inconclusive” and that the two could meet again on Wednesday.

Senior leader Azam Khan, who had earlier played a key role in bringing the two factions together, said “anything is possible”.

Sources said the efforts to find a solution to the crisis started after it became clear that the party’s election symbol ‘cycle’ could be frozen by the Election Commission in case of a split. Both the camps have approached the commission to stake a claim for the symbol.

“Both factions will be affected if the symbol is frozen...elections are round the corner and we may find it difficult to popularise a new symbol,” remarked a leader close to Akhilesh.
 

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