The Samajwadi Party leaders may say otherwise, but the party continues to be a divided house.
The power struggle between Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle and Mulayam Singh’s younger brother Shivpal Yadav, who is a senior cabinet minister, had come to light recently when Mulayam rebuked the functioning of the state government, headed by his son.
The tension between Akhilesh and Shivpal began with the proposed merger of Quami Ekta Dal (QED), led by Mukhtar Ansari and his brother Afzal Ansari, with the Samajwadi Party. While Shivpal backed the merger, Akhilesh was opposed to it because of Mukhtar's criminal background. The alliance was put on hold, much to the displeasure of Shivpal.
Shivpal was also upset with a few of the SP leaders, who were allegedly involved in land grabbing and corruption. A disgruntled Shivpal had threatened to resign from the cabinet.
Coming in support of his brother, Mulayam had chastised the ministers saying, “Your young fellows (Akhilesh’s young ministers) have become careless. They have become used to air conditions and huge bungalows. They do not go out and interact with common man. Shivpal is working for the party and some people do not like it. There is a conspiracy against him. If Shivpal resigns, the party will split.”
Mulayam also stunned everyone in the party when he revealed that his brother had submitted his resignation twice in the past.
In an apparent bit to patch things up, on the day of Raksha Bandhan on Thursday, Akhilesh, along with his children, came to his uncle's place for lunch.
If party sources are to be trusted, the meeting between the two were cordial and they manged talk things out. They also said Shivpal is likely to meet the chief minister on Friday to clear his stand.
Shivpal and Akhilesh had stayed away from making allegations against each other. After the intervention of Mulayam, Shivpal had even gone to the extent of lauding the functioning of the government. “We are united and committed to our duties. The chief minister is foresighted and his government is doing a good job,” he had said.
With the assembly elections fast approaching, party will stand to benefit if the two bury the hatchet at the earliest.