Round 1 to Shivpal: Mulayam brokers peace in Yadav clan

Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav addressing the media and party workers at party office in Lucknow. Sacked minister Gayatri Prajapati is also seen
It took the political deftness of Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav to broker peace in the first family of Uttar Pradesh. The ruling party, which is gearing up for the 2017 Assembly polls, looked imminently heading towards a vertical split owing to emerging disputes between Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle (Mulayam’s brother) Shivpal Singh Yadav.

The political drama that started unfolding on September 12 with the dismissal of two Cabinet ministers — Gayatri Prasad Prajapati and Raj Kishore Singh — witnessed the removal of Chief Secretary Deepak Singhal, considered close to Shipval, a day later.

In the sequence of events, Akhilesh divested Shivpal of key portfolios, including Public Works Department (PWD) and irrigation, after Mulayam suddenly replaced Akhilesh with Shivpal as the SP’s state unit president.

Deciding not to take things lying down, Shivpal flexed his muscles by resigning from the state Cabinet and party posts even as his supporters comprising legislators and senior leaders had started to root for him at his official residence in Lucknow.

Mulayam, who had been putting up in the national capital, rushed back to Lucknow on Thursday to take charge of the situation and stop any further damage to the party’s public image.

Mulayam confabulated with the two factions at his Lucknow residence and managed to placate both sides. He later announced that “all is well” in the party.

Under the agreement reached in the meeting, Prajapati would be re-inducted in the Cabinet but with a new portfolio, while Shivpal would be reinstated along with his key portfolios. He would also continue to officiate as the party’s UP president.

While things appear to be calm in the party, the Akhilesh camp views the latest developments as a setback because the CM was forced to reverse two of his decisions – dismissing Prajapati from the Cabinet and divesting Shivpal of key portfolios. Moreover, speaking to a TV channel, Akhilesh said he wished he had more say in the party’s affairs, especially with regard to selection of candidates for the 2017 polls.

Addressing party workers, Mulayam said there was no discord in the Yadav clan, party or the state government. “I have spoken to everyone. There is no dispute between Shivpal and Akhilesh or Ram Gopal. Akhilesh will meet Shivpal to sort out any pending issues,” he announced even as he hailed Shivpal as a diligent and important party worker.

 

Amid chanting of slogans in favour of both Akhilesh and Shivpal by their respective supporters, Mulayam asserted there could never be a split in SP so long he was alive and he was confident Akhilesh would follow his instructions.

Without taking names, Mulayam warned cadres of certain forces who were trying to foment trouble within the party in their attempt to return to power in the state. He also accused the media of trying to create a rift among SP leaders.

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