Akhilesh Yadav says he will not break away from Samajwadi Party, offers to step down if Mulayam Singh wants
The tussle in Samajwadi Party began last month when Mulayam Singh Yadav replaced Akhilesh Yadav with his uncle Shivpal Yadav to the post of UP party chief.
Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday struck an emotional pitch at a crucial party meeting and ruled out forming any new party.
Akhilesh further offered to step down if the party supremo and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav so desires.
While addressing party office bearers, legislators, and supporters outside the SP headquarters where his uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav was also present, Akhilesh said: "Let 'netaji' (Mulayam) install a chief minister who he feels is honest."
"Why should I form a new party?" he posed in an emotionally choked voice.
At the meeting, Akhilesh said all these years he had toiled hard for the welfare of the people.
"Mere pita, mere guru hain (my father is my guru)" he said.
The 43-year-old, however, pointed at a conspiracy against him by some with vested interests and rued that his uncle Shivpal was also part of it.
"I have done everything for the betterment of the party and my government has worked for all-round development of Uttar Pradesh and I will continue to do that," he said.
He highlighted various development projects like the Lucknow Metro and the Agra-Lucknow Expressway which would be inaugurated on Netaji's (Mulayam Singh) birthday in November.
Trashing reports and speculation that he was anti-Mulayam, he said he had never done anything which was against party interest and had always ensured that every problem was addressed to Netaji either through letters or personal meetings.
In an important disclosure, Akhilesh referred to the sacking of minister Gayatri Prajapati in September as a decision taken on the behest of Netaji.
"Even Chief Secretary Deepak Singhal was removed on Mulayam Singh's order and I had even tipped off the top bureaucrat to go and beg for forgiveness," Akhilesh said.
Tension was palpable much before the meeting began with youth supporters of Akhilesh mounting pressure on the leadership in support of the chief minister.
The meeting assumed significance as it came a day after Akhilesh engaged in a face-off with his father by sacking each other's loyalists Ram Gopal Yadav and Shivpal Yadav.
Akhilesh had sacked Shivpal, his uncle and party's state unit chief, along with three other "pro-Amar Singh" ministers from his Cabinet.
Mulayam, in a tit-for-tat action, expelled Ram Gopal, pro-CM cousin and SP's national general secretary, from the party for six years, plunging the party into worst-ever crisis days ahead of its silver jubilee celebrations and at a time when Assembly elections were barely few months away.
Amid talks that Akhilesh could give a miss to the silver jubilee celebrations of the party, the chief minister said, "Rath be chaley, sthapana diwas be maney (my rath yatra will go on and establishment day of the party will be celebrated)."
Akhilesh will embark on his 'rath yatra' on November 3, two days ahead of the silver jubilee event, which gave rise to speculation that he would skip the big show to express his displeasure over the recent developments in the party.
The Chief Minister said that he had connected with the masses with the help of Samajwadi Pension Yojana.
"People kept criticising me, but I went ahead keeping my promises to them," he said.
An angry Akhilesh targeted Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh for the current developments saying that he (Amar) had hinted that some "major changes" would take place in October.
At the same time, the Chief Minister said that if he had said something beyond his limit, he should be pardoned.
Earlier in the day, supporters of Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi party leader Shivpal Yadav clashed outside the party office. Police and security officials had a tough time dispersing the unruly mobs.
The tussle in the party began last month when Mulayam replaced 43-year-old Akhilesh with his 61-year-old uncle Shivpal to the post of UP party chief, and also expelled several youth leaders seen as close to Akhilesh.
Shivpal's sacking yesterday came a day after a close aide of Akhilesh Yadav, MLC Udayveer Singh was expelled from the Samajwadi Party. Udayveer was sacked a few days after he shot off a stinging letter to Mulayam accusing his second wife of hatching a conspiracy against the Chief Minister.
While asking Mulayam to clarify on his political successor, Udayveer also demanded that Akhilesh be made the party's national president so that there was no room for speculation or doubt.
Udayveer had earlier this week announced that he along with other Akhilesh loyalists would boycott the SP's silver jubilee celebrations in protest against the expulsion of many of their colleagues by Mulayam and Shivpal.
(With Agency inputs)