Lucknow, Jan. 11 (PTI): Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday advised his son and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh to stay away from the dispute in the party, which he blamed on cousin Ram Gopal.
Addressing workers at the Samajwadi headquarters here before leaving for Delhi, Mulayam once again blamed Ram Gopal, a member of the Rajya Sabha, for the rift in the party, and threw his weight behind brother Shivpal.
”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,” Mulayam said.
Ram Gopal’s son Akshay, also a member of Parliament, has been linked to a real estate deal being probed by the income-tax department.
“I want unity in the party. I am neither making new party not changing our symbol,” he said.
“I know who is forming Akhil Bhartiya Samajwadi Party and desiring motorcycle symbol,” he said.
Apparently referring to son Akhilesh's claim to the party president's post, Mulayam turned emotional and said “I have given whatever I had. What is left with me? I only have you (workers) all.”
”I founded SP during Emergency days when Akhilesh was two years old,” Mulayam said, flanked by brother Shivpal Yadav. “Akhilesh Yadav is Chief Minister and he will be the next CM also. Why are you (Akhilesh) going to these persons...Don't drag yourself in dispute. We want unity in party at any cost,” Mulayam said.
Mulayam also praised Shivpal, saying he 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 Mulayam has ignored his demands.
When asked to comment on the issue, senior party leader Ambika Chowdhury, considered close to Mulayam, said, “We expect to contest the polls unitedly. SP is ahead of BJP and BSP and moreover our candidates are strong.”
About the dispute in the party, which has reached the doors of Election Commission since the election symbol is involved, Chowdhury said, “We are confident of retaining 'cycle' symbol and will be waiting for EC's move on January 13.”