India: Deadlock in Samajwadi Party continues as fresh reconciliation efforts fail
The SP had been battling a damaging power struggle between Akhilesh and Mulayam for months. Photograph: (Zee News Network)
The deadlock within Uttar Pradesh's ruling Samajwadi Party showed no signs of easing despite efforts by senior party leaders to broker peace between chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and his father Mulayam Singh.
Mulayam Singh, who was removed from the post of party president by Akhilesh and his supporters last week, stayed put in his residence in Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow. He met his younger brother Shivpal Yadav and a few senior party leaders including Azam Khan, Ambika Chowdhury, and assembly speaker Mata Prasad Pandey.
Ambika Chowdhury said after the meeting, "All will be well. SP will remain one."
Meanwhile, SP treasurer and Rajya Sabha legislator Sanjay Seth met Akhilesh as his residence.
The reconciliation efforts had gained momentum yesterday after the Election Commission asked the two sides to file their claims for the party's 'cycle' symbol by January 9.
Malayam's cousin Ramgopal Yadav claimed the Akhilesh camp had collected signatures of 212 of the 229 Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs), 56 of the 68 Members of Legislative Councils (MLCs), 15 of the 24 Members of Parliament (MPs) and a majority of the 5,000 delegates, "making it crystal clear as to which was the real SP".
In Etawah, Mulayam's brother Abhayram Yadav hailed Shivpal blamed "stubborn Akhilesh" for the ongoing crisis within the family and party. "Akhilesh is stubborn. Shivpal used to take him to school and take care of him," he told the press.
Shivpal Yadav, who is being blamed by many for the feud, met Akhilesh privately yesterday the first time since the split on Sunday.
SP MP Amar Singh, whose return to the party recently after six years, is being held as one of the reasons for discord between father and son, said he was in favour of a patch-up between the two and that he was not a "hurdle" in the path of the chief minister.
Sources told PTI that they did not rule out the possibility of resignation of "outsider" Amar Singh under a "compromise formula."
They also speculated on the possible resignation of Shivpal from the post of the party's state chief, a charge held by Akhilesh before the family feud broke out.
Akhilesh, meanwhile, has has asked 13 banks to stop withdrawal of money, till he authorises a new custodian of party funds. The move makes it impossible for Shivpal, who used to be the authorised signatory to release funds on behalf of the party, to withdraw money.
Party insiders say the family, who, till now, were rooting for Mulayam are now backing Akhilesh. Most are Abhay Ram Yadav and Rajpal Yadav – both uncles of his. As a result, Mulayam Singh is left only with a handful of die-hard loyalists like Shivpal, Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh and actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada.
(WION with inputs from agencies)