Yadav vs Yadav: Akhilesh rath yatra from November 3, might skip SP silver jubilee
The infighting in the Samajwadi Party shows no signs of abating with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday announcing his decision to embark on ‘Samajwadi Vikas Rath Yatra’ alone from November 3.
The announcement gave rise to speculation that Akhilesh might skip his party’s silver jubilee celebrations which begins here on November 5. Party insiders said any attempt to derail or stop him from going ahead with the Yatra could lead to another crisis in the party. In a letter written to party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Chief Minister said all political parties have started their campaigns for the Assembly polls.
“I had decided to take out the yatra from October 3 but it was cancelled due to some reasons. I will take out the ‘Samajwadi Vikas Rath Yatra’ from November 3,” he said. Akhilesh has also sent copies of the letter to state party chief Shivpal Yadav and National General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav. He said yatra’s detailed programme will be communicated to district presidents and party workers in due course.
The announcement gave rise to speculation that Akhilesh might skip the sliver jubilee celebrations to send a message that he was unhappy over the expulsion of youth leaders from the party, who would not be present at the event. Earlier in the day, Akhilesh, Shivpal Yadav, and Mulayam held a closed-door meeting at party supremo’s 5 Vikramaditya Marg residence to discuss poll strategy. According to party sources, Akhilesh is adamant on his demands of revoking the expulsion of youth leaders, some of whom are MLCs, and having his say in the ticket distribution.
Akhilesh had earlier announced his decision to take out the yatra from October 3 through his twitter handle with a picture in which he was seen sitting inside a bus. It was seen as a move to counter uncle Shivpal, who had been appointed the new state party president in his place. Akhilesh hit back over his removal from the party post by stripping Shivpal of his key ministerial portfolios, bringing the family feud in the open.
Through the yatra, Akhilesh is expected to highlight his government’s development works, rally support for the party and demonstrate support for him among the party cadres. Party sources said Mulayam Singh Yadav has so far managed to pull back the party from the brink every time it faces any threat. This time too he has to move swiftly to take care of the concerns of the CM and his supporters, they pointed out.
The infighting seems to continuing as of now with Mulayam siding with Shivpal; and his cousin Ram Gopal throwing his weight behind the the Chief Minister. The feud emanated from Shivpal’s attempt to undercut the authority of the Chief Minister and his supporters by denying him a say in the distribution of tickets, and the SP chief’s initial reluctance to name Akhilesh as the party’s presumptive chief ministerial candidate.
Trouble in the party has been brewing since Mulayam replaced Akhilesh with Shivpal as the state party chief. Analysts say that since taking over the post, Shivpal has been systematically trying to undermine the authority of the CM, his supporters and Ram Gopal.
One of his first acts as state party chief was sacking Ram Gopal’s nephew and party MLC Arvind Pratap Yadav, and a former village head in Etawah Akhilesh Kumar Yadav for their alleged involvement in land-grabbing and other such activities. Recently, Shivpal announced the first list of the party’s canidates for the assembly elections without even consulting either the Chief Minister or Ram Gopal.
The SP chief further complicated matters by his reluctance to categorically back Akhilesh as the party’s CM candidate. The pro-chief minister camp fears that all this is a part of a systematic attempt to undermine him and deny him a say in the party. Ram Gopal, who has sided with the CM, shot off an angry letter to Mulayam, urging him to intervene and get Shivpal to take back the expelled leaders and to ensure that the CM had a decisive say in ticket distribution.
After today’s meeting between the SP chief and Ram Gopal, there was no indication that the stand-off had been resolved. There was no word on either the question of cancelling the decision to sack Arvind Yadav and Akhilesh Kumar Yadav or on the all-important question of restoring the CM’s right to decide on ticket distribution. With Akhilesh set to begin UP poll campaign ahead of the Party’s silver jubilee celebrations, the rift in the party is again out in the open, especially at a time when efforts are reportedly underway for a patch-up between Mulayam-Shivpal and Akhilesh.
Political observers feel that the ongoing power struggle in the ruling party might hamper the Yadav family in the 2017 UP polls. SP youth leaders including Sunil Singh Yadav, Anand Bhadouria, Arvind Pratap Singh Yadav, Sanjay Lathar, Brijesh Yadav, Mohd Abad and Gaurav Dubey, were expelled from the party by Shivpal last month for allegedly raising slogans and protesting outside the house of Mulayam.