Will decide after meeting Mulayam Singh Yadav, says Shivpal on feud with UP CM Akhilesh

: Amid talks of his resignation from the Uttar Pradesh cabinet, Shivpal Yadav – removed by the UP chief minister from three key ministries yesterday – said today he will abide by whatever decision Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav makes about him, because the state’s people “are with the leader Mulayam.”

When asked pointedly whether he would resign as a state minister – he’s now only in charge of wasteland development – Shivpal said he will make a decision on that only after he talks to Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and brother Mulayam.

A cold was has been going on for months now between UP chief minister Akhilesh and his uncle Shivpal. Akhilesh yesterday upped the ante by defying his father, Mulayam, and firing Shivpal, who’s Mulayam’s favourite brother. Mulayam had sought to install Shivpal as UP party chief, in son Akhilesh’s place. And in saying that UP’s people are with Mulayam, Shivpal was saying obliquely that the real chief of the Samajwadi Party is Mulayam, and not Akhilesh.

Shivpal, however, did add that “giving or taking away portfolios is the prerogative of the chief minister, and that his own work in the SP organization will continue as usual.

Tensions out in open: The “family feud” within the Samajwadi Party has escalated even as all parties are preparing for Assembly polls in UP, scheduled for early next year. Akhilesh is expected to meet the state’s governor today, and there’s speculation that he might ask for dissolving the government and calling state polls earlier than scheduled.

Akhilesh’s move yesterday came soon after he removed Deepak Singhal, a Shivpal favourite, from the post of chief secretary. A day earlier, he sacked two ministers, Gayatri Prajapati and Rajkishore Singh, also Shivpal loyalists, and disregarded the counsel of his father and uncle.

Mulayam hit back, appointing Shivpal, as UP party chief, in effect sacking Akhilesh from the post. This position would see him play a key role in the selection of nominees for next year’s assembly polls.

The jousting has brought out in the open, tensions that have been simmering in the party for a while now. In June, Akhilesh sabotaged Shivpal’s move to ally with controversial politicians associated with a front called the Qaumi Ekta Dal. Akhilesh has been increasingly asserting himself as chief minister, even as Shivpal has refused to forego his claim on Mulayam’s legacy.

There’s also speculation that Shivpal might quit the Akhilesh government to assert himself as the Mulayam-backed state party chief. This will, obviously, cause a conflict between the SP government and SP, the organisation.

Mulayam’s response to this latest development will be interesting. As the party’s national chief, he has the power to call a meeting of the SP’s legislators, and ask Akhilesh to seek a fresh vote from them. That is, if he thinks his son has crossed the line.

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