The crisis in Uttar Pradesh's ruling Samajwadi Party continued on Thursday with General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav failing to persuade Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to call a truce with Shivpal Yadav, his uncle and another party leader.
Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav had asked Ram Gopal Yadav to bring about a truce between his son Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav.
Emerging after a 50-minute meeting with Akhilesh Yadav, Ram Gopal Yadav said he was hopeful that a solution to the leadership crisis in the party would come about soon.
Saying "Netaji"—Mulayam Singh—was the final authority in the party and family matters, Ram Gopal Yadav also ruled out any discontent or anger in the state's first family. Like the chief minister earlier, he too hinted that an "outsider" was behind the crisis that has rattled the Samajwadi Party ahead of assembly elections early next year.
Asked if he was referring to Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh, he said, "The world knows who the man is." He also suggested that Amar Singh was the person who got Shivpal Yadav appointed as "in-charge" of the state some months ago in a bid to destabilise the chief minister.
"A man is out to destroy the party and he is taking undue advantage of the simplicity of Netaji," Ram Gopal Yadav said. Clearly tilting in favour of Akhilesh Yadav, he said it would have been better had the chief minister been informed of his removal from the state Samajwadi Party chief's post.
"I tried to put across this point to Netaji but I was told to issue the orders immediately. That triggered a chain reaction." Ram Gopal Yadav also seemed to justify the chief minister's tit-for-tat decision to divest Shivpal Yadav of plum portfolios, saying "every action has a reaction".
Asked about a possible timeline when the crisis will be resolved, Ram Gopal Yadav said "soon" as there would be talks between Mulayam Singh Yadav and the chief minister. "Things will be sorted out." But he refused to reveal what transpired between him and Akhilesh Yadav, saying he would first brief Mulayam Singh.
Meanwhile, Shivpal Singh Yadav returned from New Delhi to Lucknow on Thursday to a rousing welcome by hundreds of supporters at the Chaudhary Charan Singh airport.
Asked to comment on the power struggle in the party, he said he had nothing to say but he would "work to uphold the responsibility given to him by Netaji".
His son Aditya Yadav, who had accompanied his father to New Delhi, said the post of state president of the ruling party was a major responsibility that Shivpal Yadav would discharge to the best of his abilities.
A power struggle erupted in the state on Tuesday when the chief minister removed Chief Secretary Deepak Singhal, considered close to Shivpal Yadav.
Soon after, Mulayam Sinngh Yadav removed Akhilesh Yadav as the state Smajawadi Party chief. Akhilesh Yadav hit back within hours and took away the key portfolios allocated to Shivpal Yadav.