LUCKNOW: Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav set at rest, at least for the time being, speculation that he and his brother Shivpal would at last break away and launch their own political party in Uttar Pradesh.
Such speculation had intensified after the brothers stayed away from the Samajwadi Party’s eighth state convention in Lucknow on Saturday on the pretext of not receiving an invite.
Mulayam Singh called a press conference on Monday and said much the same thing as he has been saying since son Akhilesh Yadav took control of the party at the turn of the year: that "he is my son, so my blessings are with him, but I don't agree with his decisions."
He also ruled out the possibility of launching a new outfit for now but reserved the option to “come out with a future course of action soon.”
Ahead of the Lucknow convention, Mulayam had toughened his stand by replacing Akhilesh supporter and his own cousin Ram Gopal Yadav with brother Shivpal Yadav on the board of the Lohia Turst, which he heads.
Asked to react to the SP convention’s tirade against “traitors in the party”, Mulayam said Akhilesh Yadav should be asked to spell out who the traitors (aasteen ke saanp) were.
The charge against “traitors” was led by Akhilesh himself. In his address to the Lucknow convention on Saturday, Akhilesh cautioned the cadres against “fake socialists” amidst echoes of “sack Shivpal”.
Mulayam continued to make no secret of his annoyance with his son. He minced no words in condemning Akhilesh’s moves, quoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi's jibe at Akhilesh: "Jo baap ka nahi hua woh kis aur ka kya hoga.” The father continued to refuse to acknowledge the son as party chief, saying he was no longer in the organisation. He chose to be non-committal when asked if there was any room for a rapprochement.
Replying to a poser if warring Akhilesh would hand over the party baton back to him at the upcoming Agra convention of the party on October 5, Mulayam said his son was not a man of his word.
While being critical of his son, the veteran leader was not less scathing in his remarks against the BJP calling it an utter failure on all fronts in the three years of its rule in New Delhi. He also directed a diatribe against the UP government led by Yogi Adityanath. He condemned the violence at Benares Hindu University, claiming that the state government had made tall promises about women's security but failed to provide them protection. "Girls are no more safe on the BHU campus," he maintained.