New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav is likely to skip the 25th anniversary celebrations of his Samajwadi Party (SP) to be held in the state on 5 November, highlighting the deep differences that seem to have emerged between him and other party leaders, including his father and party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav.
The chief minister has instead decided to embark on his ‘Samajwadi Vikas Rath Yatra’ from 3 November to spread awareness on development initiatives undertaken by his government—his pre-election road show.
In a letter addressed to Mulayam Singh Yadav and state party chief Shivpal Yadav, Akhilesh on Wednesday said the party is already late with its election campaign.
“My Samajwadi Vikas Rath Yatra that was scheduled for 3 October as a part of campaigning for the Uttar Pradesh elections in 2017 had to be postponed. All political parties have started with their campaigns; in this scenario, I will be starting with my yatra from 3 November 2016,” he said in his letter.
Party spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia didn’t seem overly perturbed. “Nothing has been decided as of now, but we hope that the chief minister attends the event,” he said.
Worried by his party’s prospects in the coming assembly elections, Akhilesh Yadav has sought to draw a distinction between himself and the rest of the Samajwadi Party.
He has a Harvard professor advising him on his campaign, which is separate and different from that of the party.
The first signs of rift between Akhilesh Yadav and the party emerged in June when he openly opposed the decision to merge Quami Ekta Dal (QED) with his party.
The divide further increased when Mulayam Singh Yadav appointed his younger brother Shivpal Yadav as the president of state unit, replacing Akhilesh Yadav who had held the post since 2012. Since then, matters have only become worse.
“This one-upmanship between Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav has further deepened the divide in the party, making the possibility of a patch up very bleak,” said Ramesh Dixit, Lucknow-based political analyst.