Lucknow: Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday said, he had founded the party when his son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was only two-years-old, and that he would not let his party split at any cost.
“I founded Samajwadi Party during Emergency days when Akhilesh Yadav was two years old, I faced several hardships to build SP, will not let it split. I have declared that he (Akhilesh Yadav) will be CM, what more do I have?,” Mulayam Singh Yadav said, flanked by brother Shivpal Yadav at his party headquarters in Lucknow.
Mulayam urged his party workers to work with unity and bear with the rough times the party was going through due to the bickering factions. He also asserted that he had no plans of forming a new party or changing the symbol.
“We are neither making a party nor are we going to change the symbol, it’s them (the faction led by Akhilesh) who are making a new party. I have told them to not get into such disputes and have also conveyed to them that we want a united Samajwadi Party,” Mulayam said.
Mulayam also hit out at Ramgopal Yadav and accused him of causing the rift in the party. "I know who met the president of another party thrice. He wants to save his son and daughter-in-law. He should have approached me. I would have saved them," he said referring to Ramgopal.
"I know who is forming Akhil Bhartiya Samajwadi Party (ABSP) and desiring motorcycle symbol," he said. Apparently referring to son Akhilesh's claim for the party president's post, Mulayam turned emotional and said, "I have given whatever I had. What is left with me? I only have you (workers) all."
Mulayam also praised Shivpal, saying he toiled very hard for the party.
Akhilesh has been demanding removal of Shivpal from the post of the SP's UP chief and sacking of Amar Singh. But, both his demands have not been entertained by Mulayam leading to the logjam in the party in the poll-bound state.
In his address to the party workers, he said, "Your worry is justified because Samajwadi Party has been formed after struggle. I had gone to Delhi so that there is no harm to party's unity. I have given full time for the party and will not let it split".
When asked to comment on the issue, senior party leader Ambika Chowdhury, considered close to Mulayam, said, "We expect to contest the polls unitedly. SP is ahead of rival BJP and BSP and moreover our candidates are strong."
About the dispute in the party which has reached the doors of Election Commission, Chowdhury said, "We are confident of retaining 'cycle' symbol and will be waiting for EC's move on January 13."
The two SP factions led by Mulayam and Akhilesh have staked claim over the party and its election symbol 'cycle' ahead of Assembly elections.
The matter will be heard by Election Commission on January 13.
His statements come just a day after Akhilesh met him at his residence, sending signals of a rapprochement between the bickering factions in the ruling party.
In the meeting, Mulayam asked Akhilesh to withdraw his letter to the Election Commission (EC) claiming support of 212 out of 229 SP MLAs. In turn, the SP supremo assured Akhilesh that he would remain CM if SP won the upcoming Assembly polls.
However, Mulayam maintained that he would remain the SP chief....