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The feud in the Samajwadi Party : A timeline of events

LiveMint logoLiveMint 05-05-2017 Livemint

New Delhi: Fears of a vertical split within the Samajwadi Party returned on Friday with Shivpal Singh Yadav announcing that he will form a ‘Samajwadi Secular Morcha’ with his brother Mulayam Singh Yadav as its head.

Since the massive defeat of the party in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in February-March, Shivpal has upped the ante against Akhilesh Yadav and putting him under pressure to hand over the reins of the party back to his father Mulayam.

“For social justice, ‘Samajwadi Secular Morcha’ will be formed. Netaji (Mulayam) will be its National President,” Shivpal told reporters in Etawah, the bastion of the Yadav clan.

The Samajwadi Party had witnessed a bitter feud between uncle Shivpal and nephew Akhilesh in the run up to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls. Many in the party blamed the power struggle between Akhilesh and his uncle Shivpal as the reason behind Samajwadi Party’s dismal performance.

The Samajwadi Party contested the polls under Akhilesh’s leadership but suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the BJP.

Here’s a timeline on the Samajwadi Party feud between Akhilesh and Shivpal:

2017

■ 3 May: Shivpal Yadav threatened to form a new secular front if Akhilesh Yadav did not hand over the reins of the party to Mulayam Singh Yadav.

■ 29 April: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said that when petrol can be stolen with the help of a chip, as proved in a recent raid in UP, misuse of EVMs was also possible.

■ 18 April: Shivpal Yadav, uncle of the party’s national president Akhilesh Yadav, said the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister should hand the reins back to his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, as promised before the assembly election.

■ 17 April: Akhilesh Yadav (SP) and BSP’s Mayawati have initiated talks with Congress, JDU, TMC and NCP to form a Grand Alliance against the BJP.

■ 16 April: Mulayam blames media, voters for Samajwadi Party’s defeat in UP polls. Mulayam Singh Yadav claimed that the media only highlighted the family feud in SP, while the people of Uttar Pradesh were ‘befooled’ by the BJP.

■ 1 April: In a public outburst against Akhilesh Yadav, Samajwadi Party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav on Saturday said his son had insulted him and the voters understood that “one who is not loyal to his father, cannot be loyal to anyone” which led to the party’s poll debacle. He also said that a final view on floating a new party is yet to be taken.

■ 29 March: Signs of rift resurface in Yadav family after defeat in UP elections. Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav faced a setback when he had to cancel a dinner meeting organized for the 47 MLAs the party.

■ 12 March: Mulayam defends son Akhilesh after UP elections disaster. Mulayam Singh Yadav says no one person is responsible for the Samajwadi Party’s defeat in the UP elections as the party failed to convince voters.

■ 11 March: Akhilesh Yadav resigns, says will continue Congress tie-up. Uttar Pradesh’s outgoing CM Akhilesh Yadav says he will only accept responsibility for the Samajwadi Party’s defeat after analysing the election results.

■ 16 January: SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav on Monday accused Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav of having a negative approach towards Muslims and said he will fight against his son if he does not heed to his advice.

■ 3 January: Ram Gopal in his meeting with EC says, “Party led by Akhilesh Yadav is the real Samajwadi Party and 90% of members are with us,” reports PTI.

■ 2 January: Mulayam approaches the Election Commission to stake claim over the party’s election symbol—the cycle.

■ 1 January: A day after he forced his way back into the party, Akhilesh was appointed, by the national executive of the SP, as the new chief of the party and Mulayam kicked upstairs as mentor. However, later in the day, Mulayam, who had skipped the meeting, termed the rejig in the party hierarchy illegal. He again expels Ram Gopal for six years.

2016

■ 31 December: Mulayam reinstates Akhilesh and Ram Gopal. Earlier in the day, Akhilesh Yadav convened a meeting of SP legislators where over 200 of the 229 party MLAs turned up expressing their loyalty with the chief minister.

■ 30 December: Mulayam expels Akhilesh for six years after the UP CM releases a parallel list of candidates.

■ 17 November: Ram Gopal reinstated.

■ 23 October: Ram Gopal expelled from the party for six years. The move comes after Akhilesh sacks three ministers from his cabinet who were considered close to Shivpal-Amar faction.

■ 17 October: Shivpal’s comment that he will back Akhilesh as CM if the party wins the assembly elections sparks fresh controversy.

■ 15 October: Mulayam, while denying rift in the SP, avoids supporting Akhilesh’s candidature as the party’s CM in the upcoming assembly elections.

■ 16 September: Mulayam rejects Shivpal’s resignation. Sacked ministers reinstated and Shivpal gets back key portfolios as part of a truce.

■ 15 September: Shivpal resigns from state president and cabinet. Akhilesh refuses to accept his resignation. Mulayam rushes to Lucknow, holds meeting with Shivpal. Senior SP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ram Gopal Yadav (a cousin of Mulayam) openly supports Akhilesh and blames Shivpal-Amar faction for the crisis.

■ 14 September: Shivpal in sulking mode camps in ancestral village Saifai with hundreds of supporters. Mulayam calls Shivpal to Delhi to resolve the ongoing crisis. Akhilesh blames ‘outsiders’ such as Amar Singh for rift, blaming him for his removal as the UP president. Amar denies involvement, calling Akhilesh like his son.

■ 13 September: Akhilesh removes chief secretary Deepak Singhal considered close to Shivpal. Singhal had reportedly attended a function in Delhi at the invitation of Amar Singh, which did not go down well with Akhilesh who himself skipped the event.

The UP CM had earlier strongly opposed the return of Amar to the SP after six year. Amid reports of a meeting between Amar and Mulayam, the SP patriarch removes Akhilesh, replacing him with Shivpal as state unit president. Akhilesh retaliates by stripping Shivpal of all key portfolios, including the lucrative PWD department.

■ 12 September: In the wake of the Allahabad High Court order for a CBI probe into illegal mining in UP, Akhilesh sacks two ministers—mining minister Gayatri Prajapati and panchayti raj minister Rajkishore Singh who were facing allegations of corruption.

■ 19 August: As a show of unity and denying any rift within the SP, Shivpal calls upon Akhilesh, at the behest of Mulayam.

■ 17 August: Shivpal misses cabinet meeting.

■ 15 August: SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav warns Akhilesh that Shivpal’s exit will split the party.

■ 14 August: Shivpal raises the issue of land grabbing and involvement of party leaders. He threatens to resign.

■ 27 June: Balram Yadav re-inducted into the cabinet. Shivpal gives the swearing-in ceremony a miss.

■ 25 June: SP cancels the merger with Ansari’s QED.

■ 2 June: Alleged gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s Quami Ekta Dal (QED) merges with SP. Akhilesh sacks cabinet minister Balram Yadav for his role in the merger.

■ 1 January: Akhilesh attends the Saifai Mahotsav on the fourth day amid speculations of rift within the parivar. His close aides were reinstated a day after hinting a truce between the rival factions.

2015

■ 29 December: Shivpal Yadav expels three close aides of Akhilesh Yadav for anti-party activities, prompting the young Uttar Pradesh chief minister to miss the inaugural day of the Saifai Mahotsav.

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