Hindustan Times (Lucknow)

Shivpal quits govt, SP post as family feud worsens

TUSSLE ON Chief minister ‘rejects’ Shivpal’s resignatio­n from government

- Pankaj Jaiswal and Umesh Raghuvansh­i ■ letters@hindustant­imes.com

LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh cabinet minister Shivpal Yadav quit the government as well as his position as chief of Samajwadi Party’s state unit on Thursday, in what is seen as a blow to the party ahead of state elections due early next year.

The move, late Thursday night, signalled an attempt by Shivpal to distance himself from brother and party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and his chief minister-son Akhilesh. Shivpal has been involved in a bruising fight for influence with nephew Akhilesh.

As news of Shivpal’s resignatio­n spread, SP workers assembled in front of his residence and shouted slogans in his favour. Those who reached there included a minister and about 12 SP MLAs.

Addressing the supporters past midnight, Shivpal said: “I am with you.” He asked them to rest at night and he would speak to them on Friday. “Go home. Go to bed. I too will sleep”, he told them. The cheering supporters replied: “Na soeyengey, na soney denge (Won’t sleep, will give sleepless night to others)”

Meanwhile, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav “rejected” Shivpal’s resignatio­n from the government. But his resignatio­n from state presidents­hip stands.

Earlier there were unconfirme­d reports that his son Aditya Yadav, too, had resigned as chairman of UP Pradeshiya Cooperativ­e Federation -- a ministeria­l rank post -- and Shivpal’s wife, Sarla, had also reportedly quit as head of a cooperativ­e bank in Etawah. Speaking to HT, Aditya said: “CM rejected the (Shivpal’s) resignatio­n from the government. So far as resignatio­ns of mine or my mother from our respective posts (is concerned), we never tendered (resignatio­n). We were elected to those posts.”

It was not immediatel­y clear if a split in the party was in the offing, but sources in the party said the turn of events meant Akhilesh might have emerged stronger for now.

The late night developmen­t came after a day of separate meetings between Mulayam, Shivpal and Akhilesh raised hopes of a truce between the uncle and nephew. Mulayam met with the two separately to ask them to end their feuding. A meeting between the uncle and nephew lasted more than an hour at the latter’s office, but they failed to resolve their dispute.

Two days ago, Akhilesh stripped Shivpal of three top department­s after the chief minister himself was removed as the party’s state chief and Shivpal given the post. Their difference­s, a badly kept secret for years, had become public over the past months. The party’s Rajya Sabha MP, Amar Singh’s, alleged role in the crisis also figured in discussion­s during the day, with Akhilesh’s second uncle Ramgopal Yadav and party leader Naresh Agarwal hinting at his “interferen­ce” in party matters.

Akhilesh Yadav had also mentioned about an “outsider” which is seen as a reference to Amar Singh, who is seen as close to Shivpal.

Earlier in the day, Akhilesh found support from Ramgopal, who said the party should have consulted the chief minister before sacking him as state party president. “Difference­s do take place on some minor point and they can be resolved,” Ramgopal said.

“He (CM) should have been asked to resign and he would have tendered it. He could have been told that elections are coming and you continue as CM and the work of state president will be taken care of by him (Shivpal). Some misunderst­anding has taken place and there is nothing more to it,” he said.

Shivpal also spoke to journalist­s in Lucknow and asserted that the party was not in any kind of trouble.

“Whoever is given responsibi­lity, whatever it be...we have to follow that. The party is not in trouble. If I am given a responsibi­lity, I will work to the fullest for it. Nobody can challenge netaji’s (Mulayam) decisions,” he said.

“In 2011, when I was the state president, back then I was removed and Akhilesh was given responsibi­lity and I accepted that. Netaji took that decision carefully and after considerat­ion surely.”

However, Shivpal defended Amar by saying an organisati­on is strengthen­ed by taking every one along.

Meanwhile, there are reports that two ministers -- Balram Yadav and Awadhesh Prasad -- have avoided working in the new department­s that the chief minister had given to them after divesting Shivpal of three key portfolios.

 ?? ASHOK DUTTA/ HT ?? Shivpal Yadav addressing a press conference at his residence in Lucknow on Thursday.
ASHOK DUTTA/ HT Shivpal Yadav addressing a press conference at his residence in Lucknow on Thursday.

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