Akhilesh stages coup, declares self as SP chief
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has emerged as a formidable force after coming out of the shadow of his father by staging a coup that will set the tone for the upcoming elections. A leaked internal mail from Akhilesh’s US-based advisor Steve Jarding, however, suggests that war in SP is orchestrated to project the Yadav scion as a development icon.
Lucknow has probably not seen so much political drama over a week in a long time. Akhilesh Yadav, who was expelled from Samajwadi Party on Friday, returned on Sunday as the new party president replacing his father Mulayam Singh Yadav. Soon after he carried out a slew of expulsions including that of his uncle Shivpal Yadav and Amar Singh for anti-party activities. Akhilesh had always viewed Shivpal and Amar Singh as the prime plotters scheming to topple him.
Even after upstaging his father, Akhilesh said Mulayam continues to hold the highest position for the party and him, but the role assigned to him was that of a “mentor”.
The “surgical strike” by Akhilesh was performed in front of his supporters at a hurriedly called national convention of the party, which was deemed “unconstitutional and illegal” by his father. Mulayam refused to recognise the decisions taken by his son and called an SP convention on January 5.
“If there is a conspiracy against the party or Netaji, it is my duty to act against it,” said Akhilesh attacking his uncle Shivpal for indulging in anti-party activities. But Mulayam refused to back down and expelled national general secretary Ramgopal Yadav, who had made the call for the special session of the party where Akhilesh was anointed as the working president. Party’s national vice-president Kiranmoy Nanda, who chaired the convention, and general secretary Naresh Agarwal who attended the meet, were also shown the door. “The parliamentary board of the party declares all the proposals, decisions and convention itself illegal and expels Ramgopal, who convened the convention, for six years,” said Mulayam in a letter.
Wind was blowing strongly in favour of Akhilesh, who got the support of 200 of SP’s 229 MLAs on Saturday after he was sacked from the party in a sudden move by Mulayam. The suspension was revoked in haste.
While the political opponents like the BJP have termed the Samajwadi Party feud as a well orchestrated drama to project Akhilesh as a new found crusader, the churnings in the ruling party in Lucknow will have far-reaching political implications. Akhilesh has clearly signaled that curtains have been drawn on the formidable Mulayam era in state politics and he was all prepared to take forward the baton all by himself. He has the support of the youth who have responded positively to his development agenda and he has snapped ties with Shivpal Yadav, who was seen as a negative impression on the Samajwadi Party.
Akhilesh has not ruled out an alliance with the Congress and other parties to form a front against the BJP, which is on the rise. The BJP hopes to gain from the split in the Samajwadi Party. It sees itself as the direct beneficiary of unrest in the ruling dispensation. Meanwhile, news is that ‘cycle’, the Samajwadi Party symbol, may be frozen before the polls if rival factions stake claim to it in the coming days.
Columnist: 
Gautam Datt
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