Lucknow: With the power tussle within the Samajwadi Party degenerating into a full-scale conflict, party veteran Mulayam Singh Yadav on Tuesday tried to broker peace within the warring factions - his son Akhilesh and brother Shivpal Yadav – while ruling out any feud within the party and Uttar Pradesh's first family.
Addressing a press conference in the state capital Lucknow, with his brother Shivpal Yadav seated next to him, the SP patriarch said, ''All my life I have worked for the welfare of the party and fought for equality.''
My party is united, my family is united, there is no feud whatsoever. We are together as ever, he said. Interestingly, Mulayam's son and UP Chief Minister was not present during the press briefing.
The SP chief also refused to answer several key questions regarding a much-talked about 'compromise formula' to iron out differences between Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Shivpal.
Yes, its true that the majority was in my name in 2012, we still made Akhilesh CM. Now it's up to him to carry out his responsibilities, he said.
I have left the decision to reinstate Shivpal and four others back in the government to Akhilesh, who is and will remain the chief minister of the state.
The SP veteran also categorically said that his brother Shivpal Yadav had neither requested him to reinstate back into the government nor the three sacked ministers or expelling any leader from key position in the organisation.
I leave all this to Akhilesh, he added.
To a question whether Akhilesh will be Samajwadi Party's Chief Ministerial candidate in 2017 assembly polls, he refused to give a direct reply.
This will be decided by our party legislatures if we win in 2017 polls since we are a democratic party, he said.
The SP patriarch also categorically said that Amar Singh will not be sacked or expelled from the party as he has been with him in the difficult times.
Why bring Amar Singh into everything, Mulayam Singh asked.
To a question relating to his cousin Ram Gopal Yadav, who has backed Akhilesh, Mulayam said, “I don't pay much heed to what he says.''
However, there are still several unanswered questions as to who control the reins of the party, who is more important in the party – Akhilesh or Shivpal – and what is the future of Mulayam's brother Ram Gopal Yadav, who has been expelled from the party.
Mulayam's remarks came a day after the power tussle between UP's young chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and his estranged uncle and state party chief Shivpal Yadav
worsened with their supporters trading blows and exposing the diminished authority of party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav.
A meeting of SP legislators and chiefs of district and block units called by Mulayam on Monday brought out the depth of the power feud and the determination of the protagonists not to relent, confirming fears that the party could be teetering on the brink of a split just ahead of the looming state polls.
A 500-strong audience of party legislators and local leaders saw the rival camps brawling over the claims of Akhilesh to be Mulayam's successor, Shivpal's self-portrayal as the custodian of the interests of the supreme leader, and the role general secretary Amar Singh should have in the party.
Akhilesh struck an emotional note and described himself as the obedient son who would never defy Mulayam. But, he made it plain that he would not accept a settlement which lacked the imprint of his supremacy.
He pitched for action against Amar Singh and diminution of Shivpal in the party as his flagship demand, which was turned down by the SP chief.