SP saga: Akhilesh Yadav skips meeting convened by Shivpal Singh

(From L to R) Senior SP leader Shivpal Singh Yadav, SP Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

In the latest addition to the ongoing power struggle within the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Friday skipped an important meeting convened by his uncle and party's UP president Shivpal Singh Yadav.

Akhilesh chose to skip the meet although Shivpal had on Thursday called upon the CM and tried to impress upon him to attend. This signifies the deep divide and acrimony in the party's rival factions represented by Akhilesh and Shivpal respectively over greater control in party and government ahead of the 2017 polls.

SP national president Mulayam Singh Yadav was also absent from the meeting, while another key party leader and general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav was said to be out of town.

Shivpal had called the meeting of all the 95 units of district and city presidents and general secretaries in UP and it was attended by almost all the members. He asked party leaders to pull up socks for the forthcoming SP's silver jubilee foundation day programme in Lucknow on November 5.

The venue of the meeting at the party headquarters had been converted into a virtual fortress and none except for invitees were allowed inside. The invitees were frisked and denied to carry their cell phones or other electronic gadgets inside.

Another meet of the party's state executive is scheduled for Saturday and it is unclear if Akhilesh or Mulayam would attend the same.

On October 24, SP has convened yet another meeting of its Member of Parliaments (MP), legislators and other senior leaders in Lucknow. According to sources, Akhilesh is likely to skip it, although he happens to be a member of the state executive.

Recently, Akhilesh had written a letter to Mulayam informing about his unilateral decision to kick start the party's election campaign from November 3. Since, the party has planned a grand celebration to mark its silver jubilee at the Janeshwar Mishra Park here, it now seems unlikely that Akhilesh would be a part of the programme.

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