Differences persisted on Tuesday over key issues in Samjawadi Party, notwithstanding a meeting Akhilesh Yadav had with party patriarch Mulayam, who had last night declared that his son will be the chief minister if the party wins in the Assembly elections.
There was no official word from either side as to what transpired at the 90-minute one-to-one meeting between the father and the son at Mulayam’s bungalow which took place amid signs of rapprochement.
The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister walked down to his father’s bungalow this morning and after the meeting proceeded to his residence without responding to media questions.
There were expectations of reconciliation as Akhilesh’s warring uncle Shivpal and Amar Singh, often described as an outsider by the CM’s camp, were kept out of Tuesday’s confabulations. However, party insiders said the long meeting ended without finding any common ground.
The main bone of contention was the post of party president, which Akhilesh had snatched from his father at a party meeting here on January 1.
Mulayam asserts he is still party president and wants Akhilesh to give up his claim. But, the 43-year-old Chief Minister, who claims the backing of a majority of leaders and lawmakers in the party, is in no mood to give it up.
He is adamant that he will hold the post for three months and will relinquish it once the UP elections are over, SP leaders said.
Akhilesh has dug in his heels as he does not trust his father’s closest aides – Shivpal Yadav and Amar Singh – and wants that they are kept away from crucial decision-making during this period, they said.
Akhilesh has been demanding the removal of Shivpal from the post of the SP’s UP chief and sacking of Amar Singh. But, both his demands have not been entertained by Mulayam leading to the logjam in the party in the poll-bound state.
Meanwhile, the two SP factions led by Mulayam and Akhilesh, which have staked claim over the party and its election symbol ‘cycle’ ahead of Assembly elections, will be heard by Election Commission on January 13, the poll panel said.
Hopes of settlement arose after a significant climbdown by Mulayam on Monday night when he said, “Akhilesh will be the Chief Minister after the election, there is no confusion about it.”