Sunday, October 23, 2016

SP split wide open: Akhilesh sacks Shivpal, Mulayam removes Ramgopal Yadav

Pankaj Jaiswal and M Tariq Khan, Hindustan Times,


Updated: Oct 23, 2016 22:41 IST

A split in the ruling Samajwadi Party looked inevitable after a fresh round of tit-for-tat sackings on Sunday pitted chief minister Akhilesh Yadav against his father and party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.
In the morning, Akhilesh threw out his uncle Shivpal Yadav, who is also the party’s state chief, and three other “pro-Amar Singh” ministers from his team. By evening, Mulayam had dismissed his cousin and SP general secretary Ramgopal Yadav, who has backed Akhilesh in the family feud, from the party for six years.
The sackings indicate hardening of stand on both sides and couldn’t have come at a worse time. A resurgent opposition, anti-incumbency and worries over law and order situation – the party already had a battle on its hands. A power struggle in the Yadav clan was the last thing it needed.
Questions were also being raised about the state government, with the BJP, which is looking to topple the SP in the next year’s election, calling for a floor test.
If things come to a head, Mulayam, who is said to be angry and called an emergency meeting of senior party leaders in the evening, could name himself or Shivpal as the chief minister, sources said.
Monday could be another dramatic day. Mulayam has called a meeting of party MPs, MLAs and MLCs, where some “tough decisions” could be taken.
The first salvo on Sunday was fired by Akhilesh who met his ministers and party legislators at his residence. Amar Singh was damaging the party and those close to him couldn’t be part of his team, Akhilesh told the gathering.
“…whosoever goes with him (Amar Singh), goes out of the party,” legislator Vijay Mishra, quoted Akhilesh as saying. The CM said he had “no intention of splitting the party”. “I am Netaji’s son. I will always be with him.”
Without naming anyone, the CM said he was sacking four ministers. Ahead of the meeting, Akhilesh had conveyed to governor Ram Naik his decision to boot out cabinet ministers Shivpal, Narad Rai and Om Prakash Singh and minister of state Shadab Fatima.
Part of the SP crisis is attributed to Akhilesh’s sour ties with Amar Singh, a close aide of his father who returned to the party recently and was nominated to the Rajya Sabha.
The CM also removed actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada, known to be close to Singh, from the Uttar Pradesh film development council.
This is the second time in a month that Akhilesh had acted against Shivpal. He stripped Shivpal of his portfolios but gave them back after Mulayam managed an uneasy truce between his feuding son and brother.
But, the peace plan now seems to be in tatters.
Armed with a Mulayam order, Shivpal announced Ramgopal’s sacking at a press conference after he accused the senior party leader, without naming him, of colluding with the BJP and meeting its leaders thrice.
“Ramgopal is doing this to save his son in the Yadav Singh scam and the CM (is) not realising as to who his real well-wisher is. Ramgopal has always conspired and misled Akhilesh,” Shivpal said, referring to a tainted chief engineer of Noida authority, charge denied by Ramgopal.
Like in 2012, the next year’s elections, too, would be fought under Mulayam, Shivpal said, going back on his last week’s announcement of Akhilesh being the party’s CM face.
Before Akhilesh ordered the sackings, Ramgopal, the party’s chief strategist, attacked the Shivpal camp through an open letter.
“We want that chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s leadership see the next government in UP; they want he loses come what may,” said Ramgopal, who is in Mumbai.
He reaffirmed support for Akhilesh after his ouster.
“Netaji is surrounded by demonic powers...In the ongoing crusade (dharm-yudh), I am with Akhilesh Yadav,” he said, urging the CM’s supporters to fight without fear.

SP leadership closes door on
Akhilesh Yadav loyalists

M Tariq Khan

LUCKNOW: October 23, 2016

The ongoing crisis in the Samajwadi Party deepened further on Saturday after party leadership hardened its stance against partymen close to chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
While on the one hand, party’s state unit chief Shivpal Yadav appointed new office-bearers for youth wing and other frontal organisations virtually closing the door on Akhilesh loyalists, on the other hand the SP leadership expelled CM’s aide and MLC Udaiveer Singh for six years on charges of indiscipline and antiparty activity. Singh had written to Mulayam urging him to hand over the reins of the party to Akhilesh.
The decisions dashed hopes Akhilesh had expressed a function in Lucknow on September 27 that ‘experienced’ party leaders would reconsider expulsion of youth leaders.
Shivpal announced the new office-bearers after he held a meeting with Mulayam. On Friday, during the state executive committee meeting presided over by Shivpal, a resolution was passed that no mercy should be shown to those who flouted party discipline. Significantly, Naresh Uttam, SRS Yadav, Arvind Singh Gope and Rajendra Chowdhary, all special invitees to EC and leaders considered close to Akhilesh, did not attend the meeting.
The newly-appointed leaders include Abhishek Singh ‘Aashu’, a resident of Azamgarh and former Lucknow University Students’ Union president, who has been appointed state president of Samajwadi Yuvjan Sabha.
Other office-bearers are Farhat Hasan Khan (head, UP minority cell), Anil Verma (president, Mulayam Youth Brigade) Vijay Yadav, a resident of Firozabad ( Lohia Vahini president), Ashutosh Tripathi (general secretary, Lohia Vahini) and Asif Zama Khan (general secretary, SP Yuvjan Sabha).
According to party sources, the hardline approach adopted by senior party leaders to nip indiscipline and rebellion in bud, there is no scope to withdraw the expulsion of youth leaders considered close to Akhilesh.
“They (seven youth leaders) were expelled by ‘Netaji’ and only he can take them back. They will have to approach him,” pointed out an office-bearer on condition of anonymity.
The youth leaders were expelled for shouting slogans against party leadership after Akhilesh was removed as SP’s state president last month.
The expelled leaders include MLCs Sunil Singh Sajan, Anand Bhadauria and Sanjay Lathar, state chief of SP youth brigade Mohd Ebad, state president of SP Yuvjan Sabha Brijesh Yadav, national president of SP youth brigade Gaurav Dubey and state chief of Chhatra Sabha Digvijay Singh Dev.

SP pot still boiling: Shivpal offers to quit, CM calls meet
If the problem is because of my appointment, I am willing to give up the post SHIVPAL YADAV, SP state chief

M Tariq Khan
October 22, 2016
LUCKNOW: Amid the raging feud with his nephew and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav on Friday offered to quit as the state unit president if ‘netaji’ (Mulayam Singh Yadav) asked him to do so.
Shivpal’s emotional speech was the high point of a gathering of the district party presidents here at party headquarters in Lucknow, one of the meetings convened by the SP leadership over the weekend to discuss the growing fissures within the ruling family that is threatening to split the party ahead of the assembly polls early next year.
Akhilesh, who skipped the meeting, later called the district presidents at his official residence and asked them to gear up for his scheduled Rath Yatra on November 3. Significantly, he has also convened another meeting of party MLAs, MLC and office-bearers on October 23, a day before Mulayam’s scheduled meeting with them on October 24.
Akhilesh later went to meet Mulayam at his Vikramaditya Marg residence. According to sources, the CM has asked party legislators and office-bearers to be ready for his scheduled ‘rath yatra,’ a blueprint of which would be made available to them soon.
“He (CM) has told us that this time there would be no change and the ‘yatra’ would be taken out on the scheduled date,” said a source.
All eyes are now on party’s State Executive Committee meeting called by Shivpal Yadav on Saturday. Earlier addressing district party presidents meeting, he had exhorted them to make the silver jubilee function of the SP on November 5, a grand affair. He said the November 3 ‘rath yatra’ may be put off but if the party decided to go ahead with it then everyone should extend support to it and a separate meeting would be called for making necessary preparations for it.
With the family feud escalating, Shivpal tried to raise an emotional pitch with the party workers and sought their views over his recent decisions. “If you people think the problem is because of my appointment, I am willing to give up the post. You give a proposal saying so and I will resign, he said,” according to sources. The offer, however, was turned down by the partymen, who said they wanted him to continue but at the same time wanted an unequivocal commitment that Akhilesh Yadav would be the CM face of the party. Yadav, according to him, said that there was no confusion on this and that the party’ s mandate would always be for Akhilesh as CM and he (Shivpal) was willing to give this in writing on an affidavit.
Sh iv pal had met Akhil es hY a dav on Friday and is understood to have invited him to attend the district party presidents’ conclave but the latter stayed away from the meeting. SP spokesperson Deepak Mishra, however, downplayed Akhilesh’s absence, saying: “There was decentralisation of power now and they (Akhilesh and Shivpal) were both playing the role assigned to them by Mulayam. His (Akhilesh) presence therefore was not necessary in the meeting.”
Partymen were told that indiscipline, in any form, in the party would not be tolerated and those saying anything against party’s national president Mulayam Singh Yadav would not be spared. “You all tell me if I was wrong in taking action against those who flouted party’s discipline,” Shivpal asked the office-bearers, who agreed that those who break the rules must face action. The office-bearers were told that they could give their suggestions and opinions in a sealed envelope to the party, if they so wished.
Meanwhile, calling for stern action against those who defied party leadership, SP national general secretary and Rajya Sabha member Beni Prasad Verma described the feud as the worst ever but was confident that ‘the party will not split.’ “I spoke to Netaji (Mulayam). He sounded quite disturbed. I will speak to both Netaji and Akhileshji,” Verma told HT over phone.