OPINION | Worried About Exodus of Old SP Guards, Is Mulayam Eager to Take Back Party Reins From Son Akhilesh?
According to a senior SP leader, Mulayam Singh Yadav is convinced that Akhilesh Yadav does not have the political acumen to manage the affairs of the party and so he must take over the party reins.
A file picture of Akhilesh Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Lucknow: Nearly three years after losing the reins of Samajwadi Party (SP) to his son Akhilesh Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav, it seems, wants to be reelected as the party president.
Grapevine in Samajwadi Party office at Vikramaditya Marg in Lucknow is abuzz with reports of SP patriarch reportedly summoning Ram Gopal Yadav, his cousin and party’s general secretary, to speak to Akhilesh and convene the meeting of the national executive of the party for the change of guard.
Akhilesh has so far not responded to the desire expressed by his father. On Independence Day, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister was scheduled to hoist the national flag at the state office of the party and Mulayam Singh was also expected to be present there. But Akhilesh skipped the event and went to his home town in Etawah district to celebrate Raksha Bandhan along with his family. Mulayam hoisted the national flag due to the absence of the party president.
Sources close to the elder Yadav said that he is perturbed over the rapid erosion in the support base of the party following the collapse of the party’s alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party after the recent Lok Sabha elections and the exodus of Rajya Sabha MPs from the party.
A senior SP leader said, “Neta-ji (Mulayam) is convinced that it’s beyond the political acumen of Akhilesh Yadav to manage the affairs of the party and if the party has to be saved from going to oblivion then he must take over the reins.”
“Neta-ji is particularly worried about Neeraj Shekhar having resigned from the Rajya Sabha and joined the BJP. The SP has lost the tall leader in Ballia district in eastern UP, crucial for the electoral fortunes of the party,” said the SP leader.
Akhilesh, the then UP chief minister, had toppled his father from the office of the party president in January 2017. With active support from his uncle Ram Gopal Yadav on January 1, 2017, he convened the meeting of the national executive of the party and got himself elected as the party president. Akhilesh had retaliated against his father’s move to expel him from the party.
Mulayam had then termed all decisions taken at the national executive as illegal and unconstitutional as the meeting was held without his permission.
The dispute in the first family of Samajwadi Party, which occurred in the middle of the UP assembly elections 2017, went to the Election Commission. After hearing both sides, the poll panel upheld the decision of the national executive of the SP, electing Akhilesh Yadav as party president. Mulayam’s claim to the party and the party symbol on the basis of the party’s constitution, which states that a national convention cannot be called without the national president’s permission, was rejected by the Election Commission.
Party sources said it’s highly unlikely that Akhilesh would accede to the demand by his father. “Ever since taking over the party in January 2017, Akhilesh Yadav is singularly working towards cleansing the party with the leaders owing allegiance to his father and uncle Shivpal Yadav. The three Rajya Sabha MPs who recently resigned from the party were from the Mulayam camp so Akhilesh never cared for them and for him it was good omen that they left the party on their own volition,” said a SP leader.
(Author is a senior journalist. Views are personal)
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