At the party meeting in Lucknow, UP chief minister Akhilesh accused his uncle Shivpal of hatching a 'conspiracy' against him and his father, Mulayam Singh. Photograph: (AFP)
Samajwadi leaders witnessed a heated exchange between party patriarch Mulayam and son Akhilesh Yadav over Shivpal's removal
The all-important meeting convened by the Uttar Pradesh's ruling Samajwadi Party patriarch, Mulayam Singh soon turned into a mudslinging match as both father and son, the state chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, launched verbal salvos at each other.
Fuelling speculations that the party was headed for a split, ugly scenes unfolded in full public view during which Mulayam Singh sided with his younger brother Shivpal Yadav and friend Amar Singh.
Snapping at Akhilesh, Mulayam virtually dismissed him as an insignificant entity in UP politics who could not win an election without his support. "What is your capability? Can you win elections?" he said.
"Amar has helped me a lot. If Amar was not there I would have been in jail, he is like my brother," Mulayam said, describing the Rajya Sabha member as his brother.
"Some ministers are just sycophants," he added. "I cannot forget the work done by Shivpal Yadav," he said while describing Shivpal as a mass leader.
"We are facing difficult situation, we should remove our weakness and not fight with each other," Mulayam said.
The ruling SP family has been embroiled in a bitter power struggle. A day before, chief minister Akhilesh had sacked his uncle Shivpal and three other ministers from cabinet positions. His father, Mulayam Singh had struck back expelling Akhilesh's close confidante and uncle Ram Gopal Yadav from the party for six years.
At the high-voltage meeting in Lucknow, Mulayam Singh's attempts to make peace between Akhilesh and Shivpal proved futile. The chief minister first offered to step down in a choked voice but later accused Amar Singh and those close to him of hatching a "conspiracy" against him and his father.
But Shivpal emerged from behind to snatch his mike and called him a "liar", bringing the meeting to an abrupt end. The nephew-uncle duo later drove to meet the party patriarch Mulayam at his residence.
With the state elections just a few months away, Mulayam Singh is pushing to keep the party intact. He did reprimand son Akhilesh at the party meeting but ruled out his removal as the chief minister.
Akhilesh said he would not be forming a new party, but his uncle disputed the claim, saying was ready to "swear" that the chief minister told him otherwise.
(WION with inputs from agencies)