Uttar Pradesh Samajwadi Party MLC Udayveer Singh has alleged that people are practising black magic on Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to harm him, PTI reported on Friday. In a letter written to party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, the legislator accused Akhilesh’s uncle Shivpal Yadav and stepmother Sadhna of colluding against him.

Shivpal and Sadha were jealous of Akhilesh Yadav’s popularity as chief minister, Singh alleged in the letter that was accessed by the media. He said the SP needed to revoke the expulsion of youth leaders who protested against Shivpal’s appointment as state party chief, adding that Akhilesh was the incumbent party’s most credible leader. The MLC later said that though he was airing his personal feelings in the letter, they echoed the views of many party members.

SP leader Ashu Malik said that people writing such letters were not “even worth 500 votes”. “Any attempt to humiliate Netaji (Mulayam) will not be tolerated,” Malik said. While both the SP and Shivpal Yadav have endorsed Akhilesh Yadav as the party’s chief ministerial candidate, rumoured infighting within the party in the run-up to state Assembly elections next year has led to the chief minister’s supporters functioning independently from a separate office in Lucknow.

The alleged family feud was triggered by party president Mulayam Singh Yadav appointing Shivpal, his brother and Akhilesh’s uncle, the state party chief. The move, which was reportedly implemented because of fears of an anti-incumbency vote, did not go down well with the chief minister, who then relieved his uncle of major portfolios in the state Cabinet. Mulayam Singh Yadav had to intervene to bring the situation under control.