Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday repeated his stand on designations within the outfit and said he was the party chief, while Akhilesh Yadav was only the Uttar Pradesh chief minister. He reiterated Shivpal Yadav’s position as the state party president and said Rajya Sabha MP Ram Gopal Yadav had no right to declare Akhilesh Yadav the SP national president as he had been expelled from the party.
On January 1, supporters had declared Akhilesh Yadav the national president of the Samajwadi Party at a national convention held without Mulayam Singh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav in attendance. The chief minister had later asked his father to let him hold the post for three months. Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday said Ram Gopal Yadav, his cousin, did not have the right to conduct a national convention.
Earlier on Sunday, Mulayam Singh Yadav had denied that there was a rift within the party, even as he is scheduled to meet the Election Commission to stake claim on the SP’s name and symbol – the cycle. “Hamari party me koi vivad nahi hai [There is no dispute in our party],” he said, according to PTI.
Mulayam Singh Yadav, along with his brother and state party chief Shivpal Yadav, will present their faction’s case to the Election Commission in Delhi on Monday over ownership of the party’s name and symbol before the polls in February. On Saturday, Akhilesh Yadav had submitted affidavits to the monitoring body, saying he had the support of over 90% of SP’s members. The chief minister had directed banks to freeze the party’s accounts, which hold an estimated Rs 500 crore.
The Election Commission had asked both sides to file a reply by January 9 on each other’s petitions to stake claim on the party symbol for use during the polls. Officials said the cycle symbol may be frozen if the Election Commission does not come to a decision before January 17.
Moreover, Samajwadi Party leader and MP Amar Singh said he was ready to resign, and that Shivpal Yadav would abstain from contesting the state elections if that would keep the party united, ANI reported. Singh’s security was upgraded to the Z-level category earlier on Sunday, which entitles him to 22 security personnel, including four or five commandos of the National Security Guard and police personnel, PTI reported. Singh has been criticised as being the divisive force that led to the infighting. Akhilesh Yadav had called him the “outsider” in the SP.
The SP feud escalated in December after Akhilesh Yadav released his own list of candidates for the polls. The infighting began in September 2015 after Shivpal Yadav was appointed the state SP chief, following which Akhilesh Yadav had relieved him of his Cabinet portfolios. Despite interventions from Mulayam Singh Yadav and other senior party leaders, the apparent dispute continues even with the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections weeks away.