Lucknow, Sep 16 (IANS) Patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav appeared to have worked out a truce in the warring Samajwadi Party on Friday amid signs that his disgruntled brother Shivpal Yadav could get back the plum cabinet portfolios taken away by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
And even as Akhilesh Yadav said publicly that he wanted to have the final say in picking candidates in next year’s assembly elections, Mulayam Singh ordered that sacked Mining Minister Gayatri Prajapati – a Shivpal protege – should get his job back.
Mulayam Singh also told party activists that the Samajwadi Party would remain united as long as he was around.
Both Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav vowed to abide by whatever Mulayam Singh decreed. But the Chief Minister said he felt “bad” the way he was replaced as the state party president with Shivpal Yadav on Tuesday that brought the family feud out in the open.
Having already rejected Shivpal Yadav’s resignation as the state party chief, Mulayam Singh added that Akhilesh Yadav would call on Shivpal, the Chief Minister’s uncle. He added that his son would never defy him.
Akhilesh Yadav also rejected Shivpal Yadav’s resignation from the cabinet as PWD Minister and pledged to follow his father’s word. But he didn’t give any indication that he was ready to totally back off.
Akhilesh Yadav told India TV: “I am ready to return party posts and even portfolios but I must have the power to distribute tickets because the forthcoming poll is after all a test for me and my party.”
Asked how he would respond if someone demanded the Chief Minister’s post, Akhilesh Yadav replied: “Probably I will give away that too, provided the one who wants it really deserves it.”
Many in the Samajwadi Party appeared to feel that Akhilesh Yadav had been forced to backtrack vis-a-vis Shivpal Yadav by Mulayam Singh, who retained Shivpal Yadav as the state party chief.
Earlier, hundreds of Shivpal Yadav supporters massed outside his residence and raised anti-Akhilesh slogans demanding that all the departments be restored to their leader.
They accused Akhilesh Yadav of humiliating Shivpal Yadav and insisted that the Chief Minister should apologize to his uncle by touching his feet.
More than two dozen Samajwadi Party legislators and Uttar Pradesh assembly Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey met Shivpal Yadav.
Some Shivpal supporters also demanded action against party General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav, who on Thursday termed Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh as the villain in the entire sordid episode.
Shivpal Yadav told his supporters that he would always stand by Mulayam Singh but made no mention of Akhilesh Yadav and asked the gathering not to do anything that hurts the party’s image.
“Hum sab Netaji ke saath hain (We are all with Mulayam),” he said.
Akhilesh said: “It is my responsibility as a son to accept Netaji’s decision. I accept Netaji’s decision to bring Gayatri Prajapati back into cabinet.
“It is election time. We should all come together and work. There is no fight between Ramgopal Yadav, Akhilesh and Shivpal.”
The war within the Samajwadi Party erupted on Tuesday when Akhilesh Yadav ousted the Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary, another Shivpal protege, after earlier showing the door to Prajapati.
Mulayam Singh then replaced Akhilesh Yadav as the state party chief with Shivpal Yadav. Hours later, a furious Chief Minister took away key portfolios held by Shivpal Yadav, igniting an unprecedented crisis in the Samajwadi Party.