LUCKNOW: Even as Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh late on Monday evening sought to calm ruffled feathers announcing that Akhilesh Yadav will be the party’s CM face, earlier in the day the fire of the internal feud in the party spread across Uttar Pradesh, with supporters of Akhilesh and father Mulayam engaged in shows of strength at different places.
Senior SP leader and former minister Beni Prasad Verma, a Rajya Sabha member and close to Mulayam, shot off a letter to the state chief electoral officer complaining against one of Akhilesh’s loyalist ministers Arvind Singh Gope for allegedly violating the model code of conduct by “spreading casteism” in Barabanki.
Gope is one among the three Akhilesh loyalists denied ticket by Mulayam. In fact, Beni’s son Rakesh Verma had replaced Gope in Barabanki as the party candidate.
Another factional wrangle emerged when loyalists of dethroned SP state chief Shivpal Yadav was stopped from entering the party headquarters in the state capital by police. Meanwhile, according to some reports, Akhilesh’s supporters “captured” the party’s newly built sprawling office building in the CM’s hometown Etawah.
In another development, Shivpal called a meeting of his loyalists at the party office in Lucknow where he accused expelled leader and Akhilesh supporter Ram Gopal Yadav of conniving against the leadership. Clarifying the stand of Mulayam’s faction on the symbol crisis, Shivpal said the Akhikesh faction was allegedly pitching for a motorcycle symbol.