In what seems to be the beginning of another round of discord in Samajwadi Party, senior leader Shivpal Yadav questioned how long he should be waiting in the wings before he is assigned a "responsibility." The SP leader hit out at party chief Akhilesh Yadav saying he is being "ignored" for over a year. Shivpal Yadav was speaking after a public function on Raksha Bandhan, at Etawah in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday.
"For the past one-and-half years, I have been waiting, but so far the party has not assigned any responsibility to me...for how long will I tolerate being ignored," said Shivpal Yadav, who seems to be feeling left out since 2016, when the party saw serious differences, with the then party president Mulayam Singh Yadav taking sides with his younger brother Shivpal Yadav against son Akhilesh, who was backed by Ram Gopal Yadav. The infighting eventually resulted in Akhilesh taking over the reins of the party.
Claiming that there was "never any revolt or rift either in the party or family", Shivpal Yadav said "we should contest the coming Lok Sabha elections together". "There is an undeclared emergency like situation in the country...corruption is at its prime...all the party leaders and workers need to stand with the people and help them in resolving their problems," said Mr Yadav.
Shivpal Yadav's strong remarks come a day after the party's founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, at a function to celebrate the birthday of his colleague Bhagwati Singh said, "No one respects me now. Maybe they will honour me after I am no more." In an apparent reference to his son Akhilesh, he said "young leaders should take lessons in simplicity from senior leaders and take the party forward with values, which are the core of our party."
SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has emerged as one of the key players in the opposition's bid to take on the BJP in the 2019 parliamentary elections. A meeting between the SP chief and Bahujan Samajwadi Party supremo Mayawati had taken place in Bangalore, during swearing-in ceremony of HD Kumaraswamy, which turned out to be a power show of opposition unity with Sonia Gandhi, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee and others lining up on the stage.