All eyes on Mulayam as game of throne hits SP
YADAV VS YADAV Akhilesh, Shivpal downplay rift after CM clips uncle’s wings
Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav struggled on Wednesday to end a power struggle between his chief minister-son Akhilesh and brother Shivpal, a public feud that is threatening to damage the prospects of Uttar Pradesh’s political first family in state elections next year.
Shivpal, who rushed to Delhi to meet Mulayam a day after chief minister Akhilesh Yadav stripped him of key portfolios, denied differences in the party but is understood to have told the SP chief that he was being painted the villain in the power struggle.
In Lucknow, Akhilesh said the developments are “political issues” and denied a family dispute, adding that most decisions are taken by Mulayam and “some by me”.
The churning could have far-reaching consequences if Mulayam fails to control the damage fast to prevent a voter backlash in the assembly elections due early next year.
Akhilesh’s actions are being seen as an attempt to assert himself in the part long dominated by his father and uncle Shivpal who have been seen as the real powers behind the throne.
Shivpal, who was snubbed by Akhilesh on other occasions, had threatened to quit the government earlier. He is now said to be even mulling leaving the party, which he had helped spread its base across the state and grab power thrice. “Neither I nor netaji (Mulayam) is angry. We all are happy...There are no differences,” PTI quoted him as saying after the meeting.
Sources close to Shivpal said he gave examples that as a senior minister in the Akhilesh government, he never publicly opposed the decisions taken by the chief minister or Mulayam even though he may have expressed difference of opinion to them in private.
The party was thrown into turmoil on Tuesday night after Akhilesh curtailed his uncle’s powers, within hours of Mulayam taking away the party’s state presidentship from his chief minister-son and giving it to brother Shivpal.
On Wednesday, Akhilesh cancelled all official engagements and huddled with close aides and party confidantes.