Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday said that he would not form a new party and would step down if Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav desires it. Mr. Akhilesh Yadav got emotional at the party meeting called by Mr. Mulayam Singh in Lucknow and broke into tears after making the announcement. “Let Mulayam install a chief minister who he feels is honest,” Akhilesh said.
Speaking right after Akhilesh Yadav, the Samajwadi Party’s UP chief Shivpal Yadav alleged, “Recently I went to meet the CM, he said he will float a party and ally with some party,” dramatically adding, “I swear on Gangajal.”
Ahead of the meeting at the Samajwadi Party’s Lucknow office, Akhilesh Yadav’s supporters clashed with those of Shivpal Yadav, his uncle and the Samajwadi Party’s Uttar Pradesh chief, outside the party office, also engaging in competitive sloganeering.
The crisis in the first family of Uttar Pradesh unfolded yesterday when Akhilesh held a meeting of party legislators, a day ahead of a mega meeting of party MPs, MLAs, MLCs and ministers called by Mulayam.
After the meeting, the Chief Minister recommended to Governor Ram Naik that Shivpal, 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.
Talk of an imminent split gained momentum after Akhilesh Yadav, 43, fired Shivpal Yadav, 61, as a minister in his government on Sunday, for the second time in a month. It was seen as a direct challenge to his father, who has been promoting Shivpal over him.
Mulayam Singh Yadav, apparently returning the favour, sacked from the Samjawadi Party, his cousin Ram Gopal Yadav, a trusted adviser to Akhilesh. Shivpal Yadav announced Ram Gopal Yadav’s expulsion “for colluding with the BJP.”
He has blamed Ram Gopal Yadav for the Samajwadi Party’s exit from the Nitish Kumar-led Grand Coalition in Bihar before elections in that state last year, widely seen as a political misstep by Mulayam Singh.
There is speculation now that Mulayam Singh may propose such an alliance for the UP elections, as he tackles his party’s big internal crisis that could place his son and him as rival leaders.