Supporters raise slogans, Lucknow’s night and political temperature
Lucknow, 31 December 2016. Within minutes of Mulayam Singh Yadav announcing the expulsion of Akhilesh Yadav from the party, supporters of the Chief Minister gathered outside the SP chief’s 5-Vikramaditya Marg residence here and started shouting slogans.
The protest continued late into the night. “Gali gali me shor hai, Shivpal Yadav chor hai, Shivpal Yadav murdabad, Netaji hosh me aao,” they chanted. They also demanded the expulsion of SP leader Amar Singh, who they blamed for the rift in the Yadav family, and burnt Shivpal’s posters.
Among the protesters was Kusum Prajapati, a member of the state women’s commission. She said, “We are with Akhilesh. We respect Netaji but if he is not with Akhilesh, we will not support him.”
Aneesur Rehman, state secretary of the SP’s minority wing, said: “Shivpal and Amar Singh were conspiring for a long time. They must be expelled. We are with Akhilesh. Shivpal is known to be corrupt. If I seek votes for Akhilesh, no one will object. He is against the mafia and goons.”
A youth, Ankit Yadav, said, “Akhilesh has a clean image. There is no question of supporting Shivpal. He favours goons.”
Maulana Irfanul Haq Qadri of Kannauj said the rift, coming as it does just before the elections, could hurt the party’s prospects. “But we will go with Akhilesh if there are two factions. People go where there is a future,” he said.
Just yards away, outside Shivpal’s residence, a handful of his supporters shouted slogans in his favour. Some of them expressed hope that Shivpal would become CM. “No one can question Netaji’s decision. People in the villages support SP. For them, Netaji is the only leader.
They will vote for the bicycle (SP’s poll symbol),” said Jitendra Yadav, Varanasi district president of SP’s youth wing.
Some claimed that Akhilesh rewarded only sycophants in Lucknow and ignored ground-level party workers. “Whenever Ramgopal Yadav comes to Lucknow, he causes problems like this.
The CM is concerned about sycophants, while he does not even recognise people like us, who work in districts,” said Abhishek Pratap Singh, another party worker from Varanasi.
MLC and SP spokesperson Ambika Chaudhary, who met Shivpal at his residence, said those raising slogans against Mulayam cannot call themselves “Samajwadi”.
Another set of supporters thronged the CM’s official residence: 5-Kalidas Marg. Two youth workers even attempted self-immolation. Meanwhile, senior ministers and MLAs started arriving.
DGP Javed Ahmed, ADG Daljeet Chaudhary, DIG Pravin Kumar and other senior officers of the administration also came. PAC was deployed in the area and ATS commandos were called in.
Around 9 pm, the CM’s fleet tried to leave, but a crowd of supporters blocked the way. Akhilesh stepped out of the car, waved at the crowd and got back in the vehicle.
As the crowd refused to budge, an announcement was made on loudspeaker, appealing supporters to let Akhilesh leave. The gathering was told that Akhilesh would meet them at noon on Saturday.
Minutes later, Akhilesh and his fleet exited from another gate and left for his 4-Vikramaditya Marg residence. A large police contingent was deployed outside the bungalow.
Meanwhile, Akhilesh’s supporters continued to shout slogans outside Mulayam’s residence. One of them, Prabhat Pathak, a member of the party’s student wing, Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha, said that although most SP workers would support Akhilesh, not everyone would desert Mulayam.
“It is not possible that all will leave Mulayam and join Akhilesh. If there are two parties, then this election will only be a preparation for the next election,” he said.
Ashok Gupta, a worker of Samajwadi Lohia Vahini from Lucknow, said, “Expulsion of the CM has been done under pressure of people who do not want the SP to come back to power.”