Mulayam puts house in order, gets in Ramgopal Maratha protests: Pawar, Fadnavis in war of words
THE FEUD SP chief says polls ticket decisions not in hands of Akhilesh or Shivpal
Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said on Saturday he will control ticket distribution for the upcoming state polls with neither chief minister Akhilesh Yadav nor state president Shivpal Yadav having “full say” in deciding the list of candidates.
In an exclusive interview to HT, Mulayam played down a feud between his son Akhilesh and brother Shivpal that had threatened to split the party, and asserted that general secretary Ramgopal Yadav was the number two in the party.
The party patriarch’s comments indicated that he has managed work out a compromise formula to defuse the crisis in the party, at least for the time being.
Mulayam, 76, said he had made some changes to the party’s potential list of candidates drawn up by Ramgopal.
“If Akhilesh or Shivpal have any suggestion or opinion, it will be accommodated. Ramgopal is very impartial,” Mulayam said.
Akhilesh had demanded “full say” over ticket distribution after being removed as state president by Mulayam earlier this week.
But Shivpal is also unlikely to hold sway over ticket distribution, an area usually governed by the parliamentary board which has authorised Mulayam to take a final decision. Earlier in the day, Akhilesh gave back the portfolios of medical education and minor irrigation to Shivpal but retained the all-important public works department.
Mulayam said Akhilesh will campaign for the party as CM and Shivpal as state president. “The party will gain when Shivpal will campaign as state president and Akhilesh as chief minister. It will send a good message. They will work together under my guidance. Neither will defy me.”
Mulayam said his long-time aide and Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh had stood by him in his “difficult hours”.
The statement came a day after the CM said, “I will no longer refer to that “outsider” as uncle,” – a veiled reference to Singh. The party’s crisis was attributed in part to Akhilesh’s souring ties with Amar Singh.
While the Maratha community protests gain momentum in the state, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) engaged in a blame game, accusing each other of apathy.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar — seen as a Maratha strongman — said in an interview to Marathi news channel ABP Majha on Saturday that the BJP government had failed miserably to live up to the expectations of the people, and as a result, people had come out in open to express their anger. He also clarified that he had no role to play in the protests.
Pawar’s statement came after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis told Sahyadri channel on Friday that the issue was being politicised and some political parties were trying to instigate the protestors.
The NCP chief said youths are angry as the government has failed to provide them any relief.
“Marathwada region had faced severe drought, resulting in damage to crops. They have also faced floods, which too led to crop-damage. So naturally there was anger among them, as despite repeated demands, the state government didn’t waive off crop loans. They have lost faith in the ruling regime,” said Pawar.
The former Union minister said he had waived off crop loans during his tenure as agriculture minister in the UPA rule in 2008.
Minors caught riding motorcyles without a valid licence are set to face stringent action, after the transport commissioner recently issued a new circular asking Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) across the state to tighten the screws on such offenders.
While asking the RTOs to spread awareness among the people about the rules, the circular said those found in violation of the rules could be imprisoned or fined Rs1,000 or be imprisoned and fined.
RTO officials in Mumbai said they have already directed their flying squad officials to act against those who are found flouting the rule. They will take action against the vehicle owners in these cases, since there is no provision to act against minors.
The circular was issued following directives from the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court over a PIL, which raised the issue of those below 18 riding bikes or scooters above 50cc engine capacity. According to section 4 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, a person between 16 and 18 years is entitled to ride a two-wheeler having an engine capacity of less than 50cc, while section 7 allows a person to ride a two-wheeler without gears.
RTO officials said many of these individuals between 16 and 18 years were the ones acquiring a licence for riding two-wheelers without gears, but would then ride motorcycles with gears and having engine capacity of more than 50cc.