“If Netaji asked for my resignation, I would give it. Let Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) install a chief minister who he feels is honest," Akhilesh Yadav announced in Lucknow.
The UP CM had on Sunday sacked his uncle and Cabinet minister Shivpal Yadav and three others. During his address at Lucknow, Mulayam accused Akhilesh if not giving Shivpal due recognition and appreciation. He also blamed Akhilesh of not being able to take criticism while defending close aide Amar Singh from allegations of causing rift within the party.
Here is a timeline of how the family drama unfolded:
September: The differences between Akhilesh and his uncle Shivpal have become public since September. Sharp differences in the Yadav pariwar came out in the open as Akhilesh shunted out chief secretary Deepak Singhal, considered close to Shivpal, barely two months after his appointment. This set off a chain of developments that saw the SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav ousting his son as the state party chief and replacing him with Shivpal.
Hours after Mulayam made his brother and senior Cabinet minister the UP unit head of the ruling party, in an angry retort, Akhilesh clipped his uncle’s wings by stripping him of PWD and other plum portfolios.
23 October: Akhilesh sacks uncle Shivpal, three more ministers from the state Cabinet. The chief minister reportedly said that whoever was close to Amar Singh could not be part of his government. On Saturday (22 October), Shivpal had expelled MLC Udayveer Singh, one of the closest aides of Akhilesh, from the party for “undignified" conduct after he wrote to Mulayam suggesting to him to elevate the UP CM as the party’s national president.
11.53am: Akhilesh sacked four ministers, including Shivpal and O.P. Singh, from the cabinet, reported ANI.
Azam Khan said: “Hum kaafi din se mehsoos kar rahe the ki ek shaks se party ka nuksaan hoga ek din. Ye Mukhyamantri ka adhikar hai vo kise apni cabinet mein rakhenge kise nahi (I knew from past few days that this person (Amar Singh) will damage the party. It is the CM’s prerogative to chose his ministers.)"
3.00pm: Shivpal declared in front of party workers, “Netaji ne mehnat ki hai, unke netritva mein chunav lada jayega (Mulayam has worked really hard and we will go to polls under his guidance)." He further added, “Akhilesh should know who his well-wisher is. A leader under CBI probe is behind all this. I will not let Samajwadi Party split at any cost."
He also sacked Ram Gopal Yadav, “Ram Gopal is involved with BJP, he met BJP leaders 3 times in the last few days which UP CM is not understanding."
5.30pm: Mulayam called for a meeting of senior party leaders, including Shivpal at his residence. Mulayam told reporters, “Jo puchna hai kal puchiyega (Ask questions tomorrow)."
9.24am: Shivpal at SP headquarters told reporters, “We are preparing for upcoming elections and will directly meet people, I knew this will happen someday."
10.37am: Akhilesh rejected the rumours of a new party and said, “Who are saying that I will form a new party? I have many responsibilities...Some people are trying to spread confusion in the SP."
Akhilesh added, “I will stop those who conspire against me. One of my responsibilities is to act out against any conspiracies against me. That is why I did not ask anyone else about the removals from the cabinet. I would have resigned if Netaji had wanted me to. I fulfilled the promises I made to Netaji."
10.58am: Shivpal said, “I also had a big role in forming this party along with Netaji. I have been working for SP since 1972. Do I get no credit for building the party to what it is today. Indiscipline will not be tolerated in this party. This party has reached such heights only because of Netaji. I want to say this in front of Netaji that when I went to meet the CM, the CM had said that he will form a new party. I give you my word that the Chief Minister had said this. Akhilesh has conspired against the SP. There are so many liars in the party! Nobody has made Mukhtar Ansari join the party...and you (Akhilesh) take the name of Mukhtar Ansari? We will not tolerate people who do dalali! The critics of Amar Singh are not worth the dust on his feet."
11.30am: Mulayam said, “We have worked really hard to form this party, sad to see this rift. If you get criticised, and you feel the criticism is right, implement the change. Otherwise, if you cannot take criticism, you cannot be a leader. I braved lathis and jail to bring party to this level...Jo bahut ucchal rahein hai agar baat aayi to ek laathi bhi nahin seh paaenge. Shivpal is a people’s leader. We must fight enemies, not each other. I am the baap of goondagardi. I will never forget the work Shivpal has done for me and Samajwadi Party...Drunkards, goons have been added to the party. You get some power and it goes to your head. Shivpal Yadav is leader of the masses. Amar Singh is like my brother. Look at PM Modi, he became PM with dedication & struggle. He comes from a poor family, says he can’t leave his mother. I can’t leave Amar Singh or Shivpal Yadav. All of Amar Singh’s sins are forgiven.
12.47pm: Akhilesh Yadav reportedly lost cool and interrupted his speech. Akhilesh Yadav reportedly shouted in the middle of his father’s speech and said that Amar Singh is not acceptable within the party.
1.00pm: After this, Shivpal started shouting, “Ye sab jhut hai, Mukhyamantri jhut bolte hain, Mukhyamantri jhut bolte hain (All this is a lie, the chief minister is a liar.)
Mulayam Singh, enraged by the public scuffle at the podium, left the stage saying, “This is how your chief minister behaves."
Another meeting is slated to be held at 5.30pm on Monday at Mulayam’s residence.