Tribune News Service
Lucknow, October 23
The crisis in the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh deepened on Sunday with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his father and party supremo Mulayam Singh engaging in an open face-off, sacking each other’s loyalists — Shivpal Yadav and Ramgopal Yadav.
Hours after CM Akhilesh sacked his uncle Shivpal from the Cabinet, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh expelled so-called SP ideologue and national general secretary Ramgopal Yadav from the party for six years.
Addressing the media, Shivpal alleged that Ramgopal has hatched a conspiracy to weaken the Samajwadi party and government at the behest of the BJP.
According to Shivpal, the expelled leader’s son and Firozabad MP Akshay Yadav and his wife were involved in the Yadav Singh case in which a CBI inquiry is going on.
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Shivpal alleged that Ramgopal had met a senior BJP leader thrice to save his skin.
Charging Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav of not being able to fathom this conspiracy Shivpal said he had unknowingly became a party to this conspiracy of Ramgopal.
“Ramgopal is attempting to weaken the party and undermine the SP government which Akhilesh should understand, but he does not,” alleged Shivpal.
He reiterated that the decision to expel Ramgopal had been taken by national president Mulayam Singh Yadav.
It is believed that Mulayam was already upset with Ramgopal for the provocative letter he had written, warning Mulayam that he alone would be responsible if the SP won less than 100 seats in the forthcoming assembly elections.
“The people who worshipped you for establishing and nurturing the Samajwadi Party would now blame you for its downfall... History is heartless, it spares none,” Ramgopal had pointed out.
He followed it up with another one-page letter earlier today addressed to “pyare saathiyon” (dear colleagues) asking them to ensure that a state government was formed under the leadership of his nephew Akhilesh.
Clearly, siding with Akhilesh in the ongoing battle of supremacy Ramgopal claimed that those who have sacrificed for the party are with Akhilesh and those who had made crores and misused power were on the other side.
A hurt Mulayam had taken today’s letter a sign of Ramgopal’s revolt against his authority. The party patriarch had already been contemplating serious action against Ramgopal, his associate for the last 35 years, hinted some senior party colleagues who had met Mulayam yesterday.
Today’s letter forced Mulayam to finally take the decision to expel Ramgopal Yadav who had openly been backing Akhilesh in the recent crisis.
The decision to expel Ramgopal came following chief minister Akhilesh Yadav sacking his ‘chacha’ and state party president Shivpal Singh Yadav from the Cabinet.
Starting the chain of events CM Akhilesh Yadav not only dismissed Shivpal but also three other Cabinet ministers close to Shivpal triggering a major crisis.
The decision was endorsed by MLAs at the meeting Akhilesh had called today.
The other decision that was endorsed was to participate in the SP’s silver jubilee celebrations on November 5 and invite party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav to inaugurate the Agra-Lucknow Expressway.
The CM reportedly asserted that his father remains his leader; he remains a Samajwadi and would soon start campaigning.
During the meeting with legislators Akhilesh blamed Amar Singh for the present crisis and made it clear that anyone close to Amar Singh (read Shivpal) had no place in his government.
The others dismissed Cabinet ministers Om Prakash Singh, Shadab Fatima and Narad Rai have remained with Shivpal since morning.
Today’s events are clearly in response to Saturday’s expulsion of MLC Udayveer Singh, who is close to Akhilesh, and the appointment of a new youth team virtually closing the door for the return of the old team owing allegiance to Akhilesh.
BJP demands floor test
Giving indication of setting in motion a larger political crisis, BJP state president Keshav Prasad Maurya claimed that the Chief Minister had lost his majority and said Governor Ram Naik to ask him to take a floor test.
“Time has come for Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to resign... A government reduced to minority should not take policy decisions,” Maurya told reporters.
More significant decisions are expected later this evening as party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav has called an emergency meeting.
Mulayam has called a meeting of MLAs and other leaders on Monday.