Shivpal Yadav floats 'Samajwadi Secular Morcha', Akhilesh dismissive

Sidelined Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav today launched a new outfit, the Samajwadi Secular Morcha, saying he will seek support of neglected party workers for it.

Shivpal Yadav, who remains an SP legislator, refused to clarify whether the 'morcha' will contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

SP president Akhilesh Yadav was dismissive of his estranged uncle's move, and the BJP called the development the disintegration of a family-run party.

"I was neglected in the Samajwadi Party and waited for two years. I was neither informed nor invited to party programmes and no responsibility was given to me," Shivpal Yadav told reporters at his home here.

"I waited this long because I wanted the SP to stay united. We are now going to the villages and the districts and working towards strengthening our morcha," he added.

"There are many neglected workers in the SP. They will be assigned responsibilities and asked to strengthen our morcha. I will also try to unite the backwards and the smaller parties under the morcha," he said

Asked whether his brother and SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav will be part of the new platform, he said, "We will give him the due honour and ask others also to do the same."

The MLA from Jaswantnagar dismissed rumours of his joining forces with the Bharatiya Janata Party or any other political party.

Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) president Om Prakash Rajbhar, who is a minister in the BJP-led government in Uttar Pradesh, had met Shivpal Yadav at his home on Tuesday night.

But both the leaders maintained that the meeting was personal and not political.

The announcement of the morcha came a day after expelled SP leader Amar Singh claimed he had set up a meeting between Shivpal Yadav and top BJP leaders, but the MLA has skipped it.

When asked about the formation of the morcha by his upset uncle, Akhilesh Yadav shot back, "I am upset myself, where should I go?"

Asked specifically if he saw a BJP conspiracy, the SP chief said, "I will not say the BJP is behind this, but it raises suspicion if one sees the developments yesterday and today."

The apparent reference was to Amar Singh's remarks.

Shivpal Yadav had been maintaining a low profile after the feud in the Samajwadi family broke into the open before the 2017 Assembly elections.

He was removed from the post of SP state unit's president after Akhilesh Yadav assumed charge as national president.

The senior leader has not been invited to the SP's national executive or any other meeting since then.

But there had been attempts by sections in the family to bring about a political settlement. He had held a couple of meetings with Mulayam Singh Yadav's cousin and Akhilesh loyalist Ram Gopal Yadav.

Commenting on today's development, state BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said parties run by a single family "eventually disintegrate in this manner".

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