Lucknow: In a major turn of events ahead of crucial assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Friday expelled his son and Chief Minister Akhilesh and cousin Ram Gopal from all party posts for a period of six years over alleged anti-party activities.
Both Akhilesh and Ram Gopal have been suspended from the party for six years for indiscipline, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said in a press briefing here.
''No one has the right to call for a national executive meet other than party chief, by doing this you (Ram Gopal) have hurt party's interest, the SP chief added.
Ram Gopal Yadav has weakened the party from within, he said. The SP patriarch also warned his son to stay away from his uncle Ram Gopal.
Akhilesh is not understanding that Ram Gopal Yadav is trying to ruin his future, the SP supremo said. How could Ram Gopal call for emergency national executive meet without my permission, asked Mulayam.
Justifying his actions, Mulayam said, ''For us party is the most important and our priority is to save the party.''
The SP supremo also made an appeal to all party workers not to attend the national executive meeting called by Ram Gopal, calling it unconstitutional.
The SP patriarch had earlier issued notices to his cousin Ram Gopal Yadav and son Akhilesh over alleged anti-party activities.
The SP veteran took the move shortly after Ram Gopal Yadav hinted that there is little chance of a compromise between the warring factions of the party.
After being sacked from the party, it is believed that Akhilesh Yadav will now most likely step down as the Chief Minister of UP. After the sudden turn of events, the Akhilesh camp is also expected to hold a press conference in a short while and decide on their future course of action.
Ram Gopal, soon after being sacked from party, termed his sacking as totally unconstitutional. Talking to reporters, he said that within one hour of serving notice to him and Akhilesh, they were expelled from the party, without being heard.
He, however, warned that national executive meeting will be held as scheduled. Ram Gopal also highlighted the faulty distribution of tickets to those close to his estranged brother Shivpal, who is locked in a bitter power struggle with Akhilesh.
Soon after the SP chief announced his decision to expel the two top members of the party, a large number of Akhilesh supporters took to streets shouting slogans against Mulayam and Shivpal. Many of them threatened to sit on an indefinite hunger strike until the decision is revoked.
Ram Gopal, who is a prominent member of the Akhilesh camp, had said, “Netaji (Mulayam) is being given wrong advice to take ill-thought decisions. It seems that there can be no agreement now.”
The Rajya Sabha MP, who is Mulayam's cousin, was referring to the party patriarch decision to release a list of party candidates for the upcoming assembly elections without taking the CM into confidence.
“When everything was working fine and when everyone was saying that Akhilesh will return as Chief Minister, on the basis of his good work, Netaji removed him as party's state president on the advice of one man,” Yadav said.
Extending his full support to the CM, Ram Gopal Yadav said, “I will always be with Akhilesh, those who are his opponents are also my opponent.”
Talking to reporters, he further said that the people of Uttar Pradesh are behind Akhilesh and those who don't stand by him will face defeat in the polls.
Asked about his view on what will happen next in the intense tussle going on within the party, he said, “Wait and watch.”
“I am not an astrologer but I am hopeful that Akhilesh's people will contest the poll on Samajwadi Party's symbol cycle,” he added.
Ram Gopal's comments came amid strong indications that the party may be headed for a vertical split.
Mulayam had called a meeting tomorrow of the 325 candidates announced by him as party's candidates. The meeting, to be held tomorrow, at the party office in Lucknow may be countered by a parallel meeting of those given tickets by Akhilesh.
On the assertion by some sections within the party that Akhilesh must fall in line as Samajwadi Party is Mulayam's party, Ram Gopal said that while it's undeniable that Netaji formed the party but, given the changing times, Akhilesh can take it forward, and not in the reverse direction as being tried by some people.
The factional feud in the Samajwadi Party came out in the open again after Mulayam declared candidates for 325 of the 403 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh and ruled out projecting Akhilesh as the Chief Ministerial candidate.