Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and SP general secretary Amar Singh, who were daggers drawn in the inner-party battle recently, on Monday made contradictory statements on the army's surgical strikes in PoK, exposing differences in the party leadership.
On a day when Akhilesh backed Rahul Gandhi's "dalali" barb at the BJP-led NDA government, Singh praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the army's surgical strikes. He even claimed that the Centre had consulted SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on the strikes.
"It is not a question of the Congress, but I have good relations with Rahul Gandhi. If he has said something, he must have given it much thought. He must have some information about it," Akhilesh told reporters when asked about the Congress vice-president's "dalali" barb.
"Ultimately, the poor lost their lives, the farmers are dying, their sons are dying, so what do they know about surgical strikes?
"The question is, if you and I have good ties but the relations on the border are strained, the country and the world are unable to understand this," he said.
Rahul's remarks that the Centre was "profiteering" (dalali) from the blood of the soldiers had drawn criticism from the BJP which accused him of insulting the armed forces. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and NCP too had disapproved of the remarks.
However, Rahul and the Congress maintained that they supported the military action but denounced "political propaganda" on the issue.
Meanwhile, in Mirzapur, Singh congratulated Modi on the strikes saying, "The Prime Minister had taken all the parties into confidence in this matter and has also instructed his partymen not to thump their chests over it."
Singh also described Modi's visit to Pakistan as "part of diplomacy" and warned the Congress and the secularists about their "choice of words" on the issue as otherwise, it could "help the BJP".
Recently, there was a speculation about a "rift" within the SP fold with reports that Akhilesh was against Singh, who had left the party, being recalled.
But, SP supremo and Akhilesh's father Mulayam Singh Yadav not only brought Singh back into the partyfold but also made him its national general secretary, months before the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election.
Singh though denied any rift in the party and said all in the SP were 'sewak' (servitors) of Akhilesh.
"There is no rift in the party. We are all 'sewak' of Akhilesh as the work of an organisation is 'seva' (service). Our chief ministerial face (for the 2017 polls) is Akhilesh," he told reporters.