Lucknow/New Delhi: An open war which broke out yesterday in the Samajwadi Party (SP) with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav stripping his uncle Shivpal Yadav of key ministerial portfolios, showed no signs of ending on Wednesday, even as party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav stepped in to defuse the crisis.
Shivpal, who is the younger brother of Mulayam, reached Delhi to meet the party chief at his official residence.
In his over four-hour-long meeting, Shivpal told Mulayam that in the past four-and-a-half years, he has followed the party supremo's directions despite having difference of opinion on certain issues.
Will fulfill my responsibility: Shivpal Yadav
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 Akhilesh or Mulayam even though he may have expressed difference of opinion to them in private, as per PTI.
Though, later talking to reporters, Shivpal rejected suggestions that there were differences within the party and the Yadav clan.
"Neither am I angry nor is Neta ji (Mulayam). We all are happy... There are no differences," he said.
He also said that the decision on Cabinet portfolios are the discretion of the CM.
"But Neta ji has decided to appoint me as the party's state unit chief. My role is to bring back SP to power in next polls. I will fulfill my responsibility... I will not resign... I am still part of the Cabinet," he said.
He said from re-inducting Amar Singh into the SP to experimenting with the 'grand alliance', he had always followed the directions of Mulayam. Still he has been painted as a villain.
The SP top brass swung into a damage control mode earlier in the day to keep the flock together ahead of Assembly polls, with Mulayam calling Shivpal for a meeting in New Delhi.
Mulayam is likely to reach Lucknow on Friday morning amid indications that he may have a one-on-one meeting with Akhilesh there.
As the SP plunged into crisis, the CM stayed put in his 5, Kalidas Marg official residence in Lucknow since morning to take stock of the situation and did not attend two official engagements.
Take decisions in consultation with my father but at times apply my own mind: UP CM
Amid differences with his uncle, Akhilesh was combative on the decisions taken by him that have led to internal feuds coming out in the open even as he said that there might be problems in the government, but not in the family.
Akhilesh said that he too will follow the directions of his father.
"If I have taken any decision, it was in consultation with 'neta ji', but at times one has to apply his own mind and I too took some decisions on my own," he said.
But to a question, he said, "As far as family is concerned, everyone abides by what 'neta ji' (Mulayam) says and will accept his words."
"There may be problems in the government, but not in the family," he said on the sidelines of an event at his official residence.
Apparently referring to Amar Singh, Akhilesh asked if 'outsiders' interfere, how would the party function.
Akhilesh like a son to me: Amar Singh
On the other hand, Singh said that Akhilesh was like a son to him, adding that he won't get provoked by the media poking.
"Aap kitna bhi kahein Akhilesh ne yeh kaha hai, main man-ne ko tayar nahi. Aajtak usne vyaktigat roop se mere baare mei ek shabd tak nahi kaha," Amar Singh said, as per IANS.
He also negated all rumors doing the round that he might be the reason for the rift between Akhilesh and Shivpal.
"If Mulayam Singh ji says I am the culprit, I will accept it," he told reporters.
Here's what triggered war in SP
The entire episode was triggered after Akhilesh sacked two ministers - Gayatri Prajapati (Mining) and Rajkishore Singh (Panchayati Raj) - considered close to Mulayam and Shivpal on Monday.
Akhilesh also removed chief secretary Deepak Singhal, who was also known to be close to Shivpal, on Tuesday.
Akhilesh was then removed as state party chief and replaced by his uncle.
Akhilesh in turn divested Shivpal of plum portfolios in the state Cabinet.
Prajapati also met Mulayam on Wednesday in New Delhi for over an hour.
(With Agency inputs)