Agra: Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was on Thursday re-elected the national President of the Samajwadi Party for a five-year term, virtually ending the long innings of his father and party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav.
A largely youthful crowd of over 25,000 delegates attending the party’s National Executive elected the 44-year-old Akhilesh Yadav for another term.
The meeting also amended the party constitution to increase the term of the President to five years from the present three.
Both Mulayam Singh and his brother Shivpal Yadav did not turn up for the meeting at the CTO compound despite being invited though Akhilesh Yadav tried to play it down, saying he had the blessings of his father and uncle.
Among the delegates, no tears were shed for Mulayam Singh though party veteran Azam Khan did mention his name a couple of times.
The other mostly younger leaders appeared to stand firmly behind Akhilesh Yadav, who led the Samajwadi Party to defeat in this year’s assembly elections shortly after staging a coup against his father.
Delegates said the Samajwadi Party would now take a new direction targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
“From now on it will be a very aggressive and focused Akhilesh, no looking back,” said a party worker from Firozabad, Ram Dhari Yadav.
Former MP and a minister in the Chandra Shekhar government, Ramji Lal Suman, said the party had taken a new direction.
Akhilesh Yadav’s election was announced by party General Secretary and Rajya Sabha member Ram Gopal Yadav, who was also the election officer.
The re-election of Akhilesh Yadav means he will lead the party into the next Lok Sabha and state assembly elections.
Akhilesh Yadav was earlier elected as party President, replacing his father, on January 1.
There were indications of some thaw in the frigid relations between the father and son this week when Akhilesh Yadav drove to Mulayam Singh’s residence next door and invited him to attend the Agra convention.
He also telephonically spoke to his estranged uncle Shivpal Yadav on Wednesday evening, after nine long months. Shivpal Yadav reportedly blessed Akhilesh Yadav.
The turnout at the convention was large. The whole of Mall Road as well as Mahatma Gandhi Road were decorated with party flags and hoardings hailing the new leader.
Muslims were adequately represented at the venue, as were women.