Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav staged an unprecedented political coup on Sunday as thousands of his supporters declared him the Samajwadi Party’s national president.
The family conflict came to a head on Friday when Mulayam Singh expelled his son for releasing a parallel list of candidates for next year’s Assembly elections and Ram Gopal for “weakening the party”. He took them back the next day, but the expulsions had triggered a wave of support for the CM.
Soon after his “anointment”, Akhilesh Yadav, however, said he would respect his father even more now.
“Netaji continues to hold the highest position in the party. He would be happy when SP returns to power with a greater majority,” he said in his speech punctuated with slogans of “Jai Akhilesh” from his supporters.
Party vice-president Mr Nanda declared that the SP would contest the elections under Akhilesh Yadav. Akhilesh Yadav is expected to reconstitute top party bodies and allot tickets for the elections, whose schedule will be announced anytime now.
Without naming Shivpal Yadav and Amar Singh, Akhilesh Yadav said the two had been conspiring against his father, and because of “some people’s machinations”, the party had been steadily losing ground.
This coup a day after a show of strength by the CM when about 200 party legislators of the total 229 in the state Assembly rallied behind him.
Despite a warning from Mulayam Singh, party veterans, his close associates shared the stage with Akhilesh Yadav.
In the afternoon, slogan-shouting supporters of both factions almost came to blows while trying to take control of the party office in Lucknow. Akhilesh Yadav’s supporters removed Shivpal Yadav’s nameplate outside his room.