Lucknow, 1 January 2017. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav might have staged a virtual coup in the Samajwadi Party but through the course of his address to party cadre on Sunday, he appeared respectful to his father Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Akhilesh repeatedly declared he continued to regard “Netaji”, as Mulayam Singh is widely known, as the leader, though a national executive meeting called by him replaced the party patriarch with the CM as national president.
“Mulayam continues to hold the highest position for the party and me,” he said.
But the 43-year-old Akhilesh lashed out against his uncle Shivpal Yadav, with whom he is locked in a months-long battle for control of the party.
Shivpal, he thundered, was working against the interests of the party and warned that he would take strict action to curb “anti-party activities”.
“If there’s a conspiracy against the party or Netaji, it’s my duty to act against it.”
Akhilesh’s other uncle and SP national general secretary, Ramgopal Yadav, was on stage, having declared the CM as the party national president and calling for Shivpal’s expulsion.
Akhilesh’s declarations came after his 24-hour-long suspension was revoked by Mulayam, an event that was said to have cemented his position as the most-popular face of the party.
“I am ready to sacrifice everything for Samajwadi Party,” Akhilesh Yadav said. And to another roar from the gathering, he thanked everyone who stood by him in the ugly war within the state’s ruling family.
Akhilesh said he had been given the responsibility of returning the Samajwadi Party to power in the country’s most populous state when it holds fresh elections this year.