LUCKNOW: Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday said he would not allow the party to be split.
Turning emotional, he said he had given whatever he had and advised his son and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to keep away from the dispute.
Addressing party workers at its headquarters in Lucknow before leaving for New Delhi, Mulayam once again trained his guns on his cousin Ramgopal Yadav, accusing him of conspiring to break the party.
The SP patriarch threw his weight behind brother Shivpal Yadav, who is at loggerheads with the chief minister.
“I know who met the president of another party thrice. He wants to save his son and daughter-in-law. He should have approached me. I would have saved them. I asked them [rival camp] not to dispute. I want unity in the party. I am neither making new party nor changing our symbol,” he said.
“I know who is forming Akhil Bhartiya Samajwadi Party [ABSP] and desiring a motorcycle symbol,” he said.
Apparently referring to Akhilesh’s claim for the party president’s post, Mulayam said, “I have given whatever I had. What is left with me? I only have you [workers] all. I founded the SP during Emergency days when Akhilesh was two years old,” Mulayam said, flanked by Shivpal.
“Akhilesh Yadav is Chief Minister and he will be the next Chief Minister also. Why are you [Akhilesh] going to these persons...Don’t drag yourself in dispute. We want unity in party at any cost,” he said.
Mulayam praised Shivpal, saying the latter toiled very hard for the party.
Akhilesh has been demanding 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.
Mulayam said, “Your worry is justified because the SP has been formed after struggle. I had gone to Delhi so that there is no harm to party’s unity. I have given full time for the party and will not let it split”.
Senior party leader Ambika Chowdhury, considered close to Mulayam, said: “We expect to contest the polls unitedly. The SP is ahead of the BJP and the BSP and moreover our candidates are strong.”
About the dispute in the party which has reached the doors of the Election Commission, Chowdhury said, “We are confident of retaining the ‘cycle’ symbol and will be waiting for the EC’s move on January 13.”