Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday attended a “Janakrosh [public anger]” rally organised by his brother Shivpal Yadav’s newly formed Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) in Lucknow’s Ambedkar Maidan, the Hindustan Times reported.

Mulayam Singh Yadav’s presence reinforced speculation about a rift within the Samajwadi Party, which is led by his son and former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. Shivpal Yadav, who has fallen out with Akhilesh Yadav, floated the Samajwadi Secular Morcha in August. Two months later, he launched the new outfit. Aparna Yadav, the wife of Akhilesh Yadav’s stepbrother Prateek Yadav, also attended the event.

In his speech, Shivpal Yadav criticised the Narendra Modi government, Amar Ujala reported. “Modi may have a 56-inch chest, but it has no power,” he added. “The nation is drowning in debt and occupation. Parts of India have been occupied by Pakistan and China. We need to tackle this.”

In August, Mulayam Singh Yadav had urged workers to help fortify the existing party and denied rumours of a rift in the party and the family, according to the Hindustan Times. “If the workers have any suggestions, they should say it bluntly to the party leaders,” he had reportedly said. They should not gossip about each other.”

The strain within the party leadership first became apparent in September 2016 with Shivpal Yadav’s appointment as the state party president. Akhilesh Yadav, who was the chief minister then, had responded by relieving him of his Cabinet portfolios.

The feud escalated that December after the former chief minister released his own list of candidates for the state Assembly elections. However, both sides have consistently maintained that there are no differences between them.