Turf war in Samajwadi Party gets bitter

Lucknow, Oct 20 (IANS) Power seems to be having the better of blood in Uttar Pradesh. As assembly polls draw near, the war of supremacy in the ruling Samajwadi Party is getting intense and bitter.

Bruised by the turf war, the party is now slipping into further chaos with both sides – one led by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and the other by his uncle and state unit chief Shivpal Singh Yadav and supported by patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav – unsheathing the swords.

Well wishers and supporters of the party have been either stunned into silence or are reconciled to the fact that the party, which turns 25 next month, might actually be over sooner or later.

And notwithstanding the feeble voices of “all is well”, there are rumours of an imminent split, with Akhilesh Yadav apparently thinking of forming a new political outfit.

Initially boxed into a corner, Akhilesh Yadav — who was the face of the party in the 2012 assembly elections — is now openly siding with his young team which has been expelled by the party’s old guard and making it evident that he has yielded a lot of space but not any more.

Not only has the Chief Minister openly defied the party diktat on not mixing with leaders sacked from the party but is publicly seen with them.

His Wednesday’s letter informing Mulayam Singh Yadav that he will hit the campaign trail on his own steam from November 3 was like a final blow to the father.

Now, a close aide of Akhilesh Yadav, Udayveer Singh, has gone a step further and openly asked Mulayam Singh Yadav to step down and name his son as the national President of the party.

In a letter to Mulayam Singh, Udayveer Singh has alleged that Shivpal Singh was jealous of Akhilesh Yadav’s charisma.

“The developments are unfortunate but the time has come for the leadership to take a call and accept Akhileshji as the universally acceptable and most popular leader,” he told IANS.

But Udayveer Singh’s letter has been taken as a slight to the Samajwadi Party chief.

Mulayam Singh — a former Defence Minister and one of India’s most experienced politicians — has called a meeting of senior party leaders, legislators and MPs on October 24.

Rumours suggest that the Chief Minister would skip the November 5 silver jubilee celebration of the party and efforts were on by the Young Turks to get General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav named the party chief.

The hostilities have virtually split the party into two camps — from the top to the bottom.

Akhilesh Yadav has shifted his political office from the Samajwadi Party headquarters to that of Janeshwar Mishra Trust.

Two separate email ids are being used to contact the media on party issues and different voices emerging from Lucknow have baffled the cadres.

(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at mohit.d@ians.in)