SP pot still boiling: Shivpal offers to quit, CM calls meet
If the problem is because of my appointment, I am willing to give up the post SHIVPAL YADAV, SP state chief
October 22, 2016
LUCKNOW: Amid the raging feud with his nephew and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav on Friday offered to quit as the state unit president if ‘netaji’ (Mulayam Singh Yadav) asked him to do so.
Shivpal’s emotional speech was the high point of a gathering of the district party presidents here at party headquarters in Lucknow, one of the meetings convened by the SP leadership over the weekend to discuss the growing fissures within the ruling family that is threatening to split the party ahead of the assembly polls early next year.
Akhilesh, who skipped the meeting, later called the district presidents at his official residence and asked them to gear up for his scheduled Rath Yatra on November 3. Significantly, he has also convened another meeting of party MLAs, MLC and office-bearers on October 23, a day before Mulayam’s scheduled meeting with them on October 24.
Akhilesh later went to meet Mulayam at his Vikramaditya Marg residence. According to sources, the CM has asked party legislators and office-bearers to be ready for his scheduled ‘rath yatra,’ a blueprint of which would be made available to them soon.
“He (CM) has told us that this time there would be no change and the ‘yatra’ would be taken out on the scheduled date,” said a source.
All eyes are now on party’s State Executive Committee meeting called by Shivpal Yadav on Saturday. Earlier addressing district party presidents meeting, he had exhorted them to make the silver jubilee function of the SP on November 5, a grand affair. He said the November 3 ‘rath yatra’ may be put off but if the party decided to go ahead with it then everyone should extend support to it and a separate meeting would be called for making necessary preparations for it.
With the family feud escalating, Shivpal tried to raise an emotional pitch with the party workers and sought their views over his recent decisions. “If you people think the problem is because of my appointment, I am willing to give up the post. You give a proposal saying so and I will resign, he said,” according to sources. The offer, however, was turned down by the partymen, who said they wanted him to continue but at the same time wanted an unequivocal commitment that Akhilesh Yadav would be the CM face of the party. Yadav, according to him, said that there was no confusion on this and that the party’ s mandate would always be for Akhilesh as CM and he (Shivpal) was willing to give this in writing on an affidavit.
Sh iv pal had met Akhil es hY a dav on Friday and is understood to have invited him to attend the district party presidents’ conclave but the latter stayed away from the meeting. SP spokesperson Deepak Mishra, however, downplayed Akhilesh’s absence, saying: “There was decentralisation of power now and they (Akhilesh and Shivpal) were both playing the role assigned to them by Mulayam. His (Akhilesh) presence therefore was not necessary in the meeting.”
Partymen were told that indiscipline, in any form, in the party would not be tolerated and those saying anything against party’s national president Mulayam Singh Yadav would not be spared. “You all tell me if I was wrong in taking action against those who flouted party’s discipline,” Shivpal asked the office-bearers, who agreed that those who break the rules must face action. The office-bearers were told that they could give their suggestions and opinions in a sealed envelope to the party, if they so wished.
Meanwhile, calling for stern action against those who defied party leadership, SP national general secretary and Rajya Sabha member Beni Prasad Verma described the feud as the worst ever but was confident that ‘the party will not split.’ “I spoke to Netaji (Mulayam). He sounded quite disturbed. I will speak to both Netaji and Akhileshji,” Verma told HT over phone.