Lucknow: An embattled Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday asserted he continued to be the party's president and questioned the legality of the convention called by son Akhilesh Yadav camp which declared the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister the new party chief.
Mulayam's remarks came a day before he visits Election Commission where he is set to question the authenticity of documents submitted by Akhilesh Yadav faction yesterday claiming support of a majority of MPs, MLAs, MLCs and party delegates.
"I am the national president of Samajwadi Party and Akhilesh Yadav is (only) the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. Shivpal Yadav is still the president of Samajwadi Party's Uttar Pradesh unit," Mulayam, who is locked in a bitter feud with Akhilesh-Ramgopal camp for control over the party, told reporters here.
"Ramgopal Yadav was expelled from the party for six years on 30 December, 2016. Therefore the party's national convention called by him on 1 January, 2017 was illegal," he asserted reading out a prepared text.
Mulayam's confidante Amar Singh, who has been blamed by Akhilesh and his supporters for the family feud in the party, said the Mulayam camp will approach the Election Commission tomorrow where it will question the genuineness of the affidavits filed by Ramgopal, the SP patriarch's cousin and general secretary of the rival faction, on behalf of the Akhilesh camp.
Singh claimed the signatures of the MLAs supporting Akhilesh have "no value" as after the model code of conduct came into force on January 4, they practically ceased to be legislators. He said most of the delegates who have signed the affidavit were appointed after January 1.
Meanwhile, Ramgopal ruled out any rapprochement between the two factions of UP's ruling party, saying "4-6 people have misled Netaji (Mulayam) into believing he enjoys the support of 200 MLAs. They stand exposed now."
He, however, maintained that Mulayam was made the party patron at the national convention which appointed Akhilesh as the new SP chief. "Netaji's nameplate is still there at the Delhi party office," Ramgopal, who has stood by Akhilesh in the internecine family feud, said.
Earlier in the day, when Mulayam reached Delhi from Lucknow, some of his supporters were heard raising slogans against his son Akhilesh. Some of the supporters claimed that Mulayam later told them at his residence that though he may not have the numbers, Akhilesh is still his son and the supporters should desist from raising slogans against him.
Mulayam's reported remarks, however, could not be confirmed by any senior leader of his camp....