The father and son shared the dais in the party headquarters in Lucknow after a long time, as workers gathered to wish the founder of the Samajwadi Party on his 79th birthday.
"He is a son first and a leader later," Mulayam Singh Yadav said while addressing the workers.
As Mulayam walked to the dais, he was greeted by party leaders, with Akhilesh touching his feet and welcoming him with a shawl.
"I have given my blessing to Akhilesh and will continue to do so. This is an issue of discussion in the country that I blessed Akhilesh. I want to say he is my son and is also in politics," Mulayam Singh Yadav said.
He conveyed his message of unity to the Samajwadi Party, which has seen a group led by his supporters rise against party president Akhilesh Yadav, as songs hailing the veteran leader -- such as Jai Jai Jai Mulayam" and "Mann se Mulayam, Iradey Loha hain" -- played in the background.
Mulayam Singh loyalist and Akhilesh's uncle Shivpal Yadav did not attend the celebrations. But other supporters, including Samajwadi Party MLA Ashu Malik and Narad Rai, who joined the BSP during the Assembly election, accompanied Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Giving lessons of "samajwad" (socialism) to the workers, Mulayam Singh held them responsible for the party's poor show in the Assembly elections, in which the party won only 47 of the 403 seats.
"You should all read Lohiaji. Our party always fought for the cause of women and discrimination on the basis of caste, religion and region," Mulayam Singh Yadav said.
"What is 'samajwad'," he asked the workers and told them it was about "equality" and "happiness" and advised the cadre to connect with the masses.
He also pulled up Akhilesh Yadav for giving party positions to those who "cannot win (a seat) even at the level of their village polling booth".
"Those who could not ensure the victory of the party are being given big posts in the Samajwadi Party. There are many, not just one," he said. He cited the example of a leader who, Mulayam Singh said, had won only nine votes in his village, when his family itself had 51 members.
"This is a matter of shame that we won only 47 seats despite the welfare work being done by Akhilesh," he said.
Mulayam Singh Yadav also cut a cake on the occasion and offered the first slice to his son.
Akhilesh, who was unanimously re-elected the party president at the Samajwadi Party national convention in October, had claimed he had the blessings of his father, though Mulayam and his estranged uncle Shivpal Yadav had skipped the Agra event.
Mulayam Singh Yadav has not been on good terms with Akhilesh Yadav since his son ousted him from the post of the party national president in January.
Mulayam Singh was born on November 22, 1939, in Saifai village in the Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh.
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