Mulayam Singh Yadav tries to put lid on feud

We are united, says Mulayam even as Akhilesh stays away

Lucknow: The Samajwadi Party’s national president Mulayam Singh Yadav on Tuesday tried to present a brave face by saying that there was unity on the family and the party, although he did not provide any answers to specific questions.

At a much-anticipated press conference in the party office in Lucknow, Mulayam was accompanied by sacked ministers Shivpal Yadav and Manoj Pandey but said nothing about their reinstatement. “It is for the Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to decide,” he said in reply to a question.

At the outset, he read out a brief written message in which he said he was a true socialist, having worked among the people for their problems and rights. The Samajwadi Party, he said, was one and united, and so was the family. On being asked whether the continuing conflict had been resolved, he said in jest: “Conflict? What is the conflict? I do not see any conflict.”

It was reported earlier in the day that Mulayam and Akhilesh could hold a joint press conference but that did not happen. Asked as to why Akhilesh had not come, he said: “You will have to ask him.” But ruling out the possibility of changing the chief minister, Mulayam said that there was hardly any time left before the pre-election code

of conduct came into force. “Why should I become the chief minister for two-three months?” he said in reply to a question whether he himself was likely to take over as chief minister.

He also parried a question about whether Akhilesh would be the chief minister in case the Samajwadi Party got a chance to make the government after the 2017 election. Expressing hope that in the 2017 election also his party will get a majority and form the government, he said “Ours is a democratic party and the elected legislators will hold a meeting and decide who will be the chief minister.”

In a significant comment he said that the party’s win in the 2012 Assembly election was because of him. “In 2012 our party got majority because of me, and then I in consultation with Shivpal and others decided to make Akhilesh the chief minister,” he said. On earlier occasions, party leaders have said that it was Akhilesh’s appeal to the youth and his cycle rallies that had given the party such a huge majority in the last election.

Mulayam also did not give any importance to Ram Gopal Yadav in his answers, dismissing his mention in a question with a wave of his hand. But he underlined the importance of Amar Singh in his life and in the party. “Why do you bring up Amar Singh’s name in your questions? Some conspirators are plotting against him,” he said.

Even though the question-answer session remained inconclusive, it was clear that Akhilesh had apparently held his ground on issues that have arisen in the past few days. He continues as the chief minister, he has given no commitment to take Shivpal and other ministers back, and obviously he would be free to take whatever decisions he wishes to take in the remaining period of his chief ministership without being encumbered by Shivpal Yadav’s interference. But Amar Singh stays in the party despite Akhilesh’s dislike for him, and the issue of candidate selection for the coming election remains unresolved.

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