New Delhi: Renewed attempts to save the Samajwadi Party (SP) from a split between Akhilesh and Shivpal factions are being reported on Tuesday with party patriarch Mulayam visiting Lucknow to meet his son this morning. Earlier on Monday, Mulayam met with Election Commission officials in New Delhi to stake claim over the party’s election symbol—the cycle.
The SP, which emerged as one of the most formidable force in Uttar Pradesh and also played a crucial role in the formation of two Third Front governments in mid-90s, is on the verge of split due to the ongoing power struggle between Mulayam’s son Akhilesh and brother Shivpal.
Here’s a timeline of the developments that capture the simmering conflict between nephew and uncle and eventually led to Akhilesh wresting control of the Samajwadi Party from father, Mulayam.
29 December: Shivpal Yadav expels three close aides of Akhilesh Yadav for anti-party activities, prompting the young Uttar Pradesh chief minister to miss the inaugural day of the Saifai Mahotsav.
1 January: Akhilesh attends the Saifai Mahotsav on the fourth day amid speculations of rift within the parivar. His close aides were reinstated a day after hinting a truce between the rival factions.
2 June: Alleged gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s Quami Ekta Dal (QED) merges with SP. Akhilesh sacks cabinet minister Balram Yadav for his role in the merger.
25 June: SP cancels the merger with Ansari’s QED.
27 June: Balram Yadav re-inducted into the cabinet. Shivpal gives the swearing-in ceremony a miss.
14 August: Shivpal raises the issue of land grabbing and involvement of party leaders. He threatens to resign.
15 August: SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav warns Akhilesh that Shivpal’s exit will split the party.
17 August: Shivpal misses cabinet meeting.
19 August: As a show of unity and denying any rift within the SP, Shivpal calls upon Akhilesh, at the behest of Mulayam.
12 September: In the wake of the Allahabad High Court order for a CBI probe into illegal mining in UP, Akhilesh sacks two ministers—mining minister Gayatri Prajapati and panchayti raj minister Rajkishore Singh who were facing allegations of corruption.
13 September: Akhilesh removes chief secretary Deepak Singhal considered close to Shivpal. Singhal had reportedly attended a function in Delhi at the invitation of Amar Singh, which did not go down well with Akhilesh who himself skipped the event. The UP CM had earlier strongly opposed the return of Amar to the SP after six year. Amid reports of a meeting between Amar and Mulayam, the SP patriarch removes Akhilesh, replacing him with Shivpal as state unit president. Akhilesh retaliates by stripping Shivpal of all key portfolios, including the lucrative PWD department.
14 September: Shivpal in sulking mode camps in ancestral village Saifai with hundreds of supporters. Mulayam calls Shivpal to Delhi to resolve the ongoing crisis. Akhilesh blames ‘outsiders’ such as Amar Singh for rift, blaming him for his removal as the UP president. Amar denies involvement, calling Akhilesh like his son.
15 September: Shivpal resigns from state president and cabinet. Akhilesh refuses to accept his resignation. Mulayam rushes to Lucknow, holds meeting with Shivpal. Senior SP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ram Gopal Yadav (a cousin of Mulayam) openly supports Akhilesh and blames Shivpal-Amar faction for the crisis.
16 September: Mulayam rejects Shivpal’s resignation. Sacked ministers reinstated and Shivpal gets back key portfolios as part of a truce.
15 October: Mulayam, while denying rift in the SP, avoids supporting Akhilesh’s candidature as the party’s CM in the upcoming assembly elections.
17 October: Shivpal’s comment that he will back Akhilesh as CM if the party wins the assembly elections sparks fresh controversy.
23 October: Ram Gopal expelled from the party for six years. The move comes after Akhilesh sacks three ministers from his cabinet who were considered close to Shivpal-Amar faction.
17 November: Ram Gopal reinstated.
30 December: Mulayam expels Akhilesh for six years after the UP CM releases a parallel list of candidates.
31 December: Mulayam reinstates Akhilesh and Ram Gopal. Earlier in the day, Akhilesh Yadav convened a meeting of SP legislators where over 200 of the 229 party MLAs turned up expressing their loyalty with the chief minister.
1 January: A day after he forced his way back into the party, Akhilesh was appointed, by the national executive of the SP, as the new chief of the party and Mulayam kicked upstairs as mentor. However, later in the day, Mulayam, who had skipped the meeting, termed the rejig in the party hierarchy illegal. He again expels Ram Gopal for six years.
2 January: Mulayam approaches the Election Commission to stake claim over the party’s election symbol—the cycle.
3 January: Ram Gopal in his meeting with EC says, “Party led by Akhilesh Yadav is the real Samajwadi Party and 90% of members are with us," reports PTI.