Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Monday chose to side with brother Shivpal Yadav in the ongoing tussle between the latter and state Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, reported Economic Times. The ruling party head said, "He [Shivpal] is the only one one who listens to me and even he wants to resign why are they insulting him? If I stand up, this government will feel the heat," the 76-year-old said, according to NDTV.

He said Shivpal Yadav was an integral part of the party and that if he quit, the party would be divided. The dispute is related to Akhilesh Yadav's decision not to allow a small regional party to ally with the SP, citing that the party was run by a leader who had criminal records. Akhilesh has held that such ties would further tarnish the party's image.

The merger in question was Shivpal Yadav's proposal. Mulayam had also said Shivpal was a good man and that his opinions should heeded. Shivpal Yadav is a minister in the state Cabinet and has around a dozen ministries under him. Mulayam Singh Yadav patriarch made the comments at a flag-hoisting ceremony on Independence Day in Lucknow.