Questioning the legality of the convention which ousted him as president and appointed his son Akhilesh in his place, a combative Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday asserted he was still the party chief.
He claimed the special national convention called by his cousin Ramgopal Yadav on January 1 in Lucknow was “illegal” as he as party president had already expelled him from the party on December 30.
“I am the national president of Samajwadi Party and Akhilesh Yadav is (only) the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.Shivpal Yadav is still the president of Samajwadi Party’s Uttar Pradesh unit,” Mulayam, who is locked in a bitter feud with the Akhilesh-Ramgopal camp for control over the party, told reporters here.
“Ramgopal Yadav was expelled from the party for six years on 30 December 2016. Therefore the party’s national convention called by him on 1 January 2017 was illegal,” he asserted.
Ramgopal, who has been backing Akhilesh in the internecine feud in the party, had convened the meeting in his capacity as SP general secretary.
Mulayam is likely to visit Election Commission on Monday to stake claim over the party’s name and election symbol ‘cycle’. January 9 is the deadline set by the EC for both the sides to submit documents before it decides which faction has the genuine claim over the two.
On Saturday, the Akhilesh faction submitted to the EC affidavits claimed to have been signed by 90 per cent of legislators and delegates, including over 200 of the 229 MLAs backing the Chief Minister.
A day after the Samajwadi Party’s (SP) Akhilesh Yadav faction told the Election Commission (EC) it has signatures of support from a majority of SP lawmakers, Amar Singh, who’s part of the opposing Mulayam faction, claimed the signatures were forged. “The signatures of support are forged and hence their authenticity is doubtful,” said Amar Singh, who’s said to be the cause of the rift in the Yadav family.
On Saturday, after meeting EC officials, Ramgopal Yadav - who’s on Akhilesh’s side - said his faction is at an advantage because they submitted relevant documents sooner than the deadline of January 9.
“We (Akhilesh faction) have submitted all relevant documents, brought seven cartons with more than 1.5 lakh pages to the election commissioner office,” Ramgopal said.
Meanwhile, in a surprise move, Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh has been accorded ‘Z’ category security cover of central paramilitary commandos by the Union government due to threat perception following “recent activities”, a development that comes in the backdrop of infighting in SP ahead of UP Assembly polls.
Officials said the Union Home Ministry issued an order in this regard on Saturday night and asked the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to take up the task with immediate effect.
“In view of recent activities, there is a perceptible threat (to Singh),” an official said citing inputs provided by central security agencies but did not elaborate.