Samajwadi Party President Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday dismissed Rajya Sabha MP Ramgopal Yadav from the party for six years. The announcement follows the party chief's son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's sacking of Mulayam Singh Yadav's brother Shivpal Yadav and four other ministers from his Cabinet.

Addressing media persons at the party headquarters in Lucknow, Shivpal Yadav accused Ramgopal Yadav of colluding with the rival Bharatiya Janata Party and creating a rift within the Samajwadi Party. Shivpal Yadav said, "He [Ramgopal Yadav] has met with a senior leader of the BJP three times. He is doing this because his son Akshay and daughter-in-law are accused in the Yadav Singh scam."

Shivpal Yadav said the chief minister did not understand these conspiracies and that "he" [Akhilesh Yadav] should know who his "well-wishers are". He said a reconciliation with Ramgopal Yadav was no longer a possibility as "limits had been crossed".

According to ANI, Ramgopal Yadav said he was not upset about the dismissal, but that we was hurt by the "allegations against him". He reiterated his support for Akhilesh Yadav's campaign for the chief minister's post. Ramgopal Yadav said, "Mulayam Singh Yadav is not just my elder brother but also my guru in politics. He is currently surrounded by evil powers." He dismissed allegations of colluding with the BJP and said it was "not a crime to meet leaders from any other political party in a democracy".

Raju Yadav, a party MLA who was present at the chief minister's meeting on Sunday, said the CM had said that he could not have any ally of [senior leader] Amar Singh [referring to Shivpal Yadav] in his Cabinet."

This comes a day after Mulayam Singh Yadav suspended party legislator Udayveer Singh for six years. Singh had written a letter to the SP president in which he accused Akhilesh Yadav’s stepmother Sadhna of practising black magic on Akhilesh.

Rumours are rife that the 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, the state party chief. The move, which was reportedly implemented because of fears of an anti-incumbency vote, did not go down well with chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who then relieved his uncle of major portfolios in the Cabinet. Mulayam Singh Yadav had to intervene to bring the situation under control.