LUCKNOW -- Samajwadi Party general secretary Ramgopal Yadav on Sunday called on party leaders and workers to declare Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav as the president of the party and unseat his father Mulayam Singh Yadav from that position.
In a statement that suggested that the Samajwadi Party may be heading for a split, or for Mulayam to make way for Akhilesh at the top of the party hierarchy, Ramgopal Yadav, addressing a party convention at the Janeshwar Mishra Park, said that the National Executive of the Samajwadi Party also wants Shivpal Yadav to be removed as president of the SP's Uttar Pradesh unit and the sacking of Amar Singh immediately.
"This National Executive unanimously elects Akhilesh Yadavji as the national president of Samajwadi Party. The state president, Shivpal Yadav, has been taking wrong decisions in the name of Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav)," said Ramgopal Yadav.
In his address to the gathering, Akhilesh said that as the son of Mulayam Singh Yadav, it was his duty and responsibility to ensure that any conspiracy against the latter is squashed and he would firmly take up such a challenge should it arise.
"If Netaji had asked me, I would've stepped down from the post of the state party president because he was the one who put me there and gave me a chance to serve UP," he said.
Akhilesh Yadav declared he continued to regard "Netaji" -- as Mulayam Singh is widely known -- as his father but spoke harshly against Shivpal Yadav. Shivpal Yadav, he thundered, had been working against the interests of the party.
"I am ready to sacrifice everything for Samajwadi Party," Akhilesh Yadav said. And to another roar from the gathering, he thanked everyone who have stood by him in the ugly war within the state's first family.
He said he had been given the responsibility of returning the Samajwadi Party to power in the country's most populous state when it goes for fresh elections this year.
Akhilesh Yadav also made it clear that he would take action against those "who act against the party".
"I want to thank all the party workers and leaders because of whom the party's morale hasn't come down," adding that, "SP will continue to fight against those trying to divide the people along communal lines."
He said that in his eyes, "Netaji" (Mulayam Singh Yadav) occupies the highest and most important position in the Samajwadi Party. "When the party comes back into power with a majority, Netaji would be the happiest," he said.
Ahead of the convention, Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday sent a letter to party workers asking them not to attend the national executive meet called by party general secretary Ramgopal Yadav.
"The meet called by Ramgopal is against the constitution of the party. It is against the discipline of the party and has been organised to harm the image of the party. Hence, one should not attend this meet," Mulayam wrote in his letter.
The letter further stated that to attend any such meet or to sign any proposal would be considered as undisciplined and merit strict action against the guilty.
The national convention was called by Ram Gopal Yadav on an emergency basis two days ago.
The convention was expected to discuss proposals for appointment of Akhilesh as the national president, removal of Shivpal Yadav as the party state chief and removal of tainted candidates from the party list.
Leaders close to Akhilesh made rounds of the Janeshwar Mishra Park, the venue of emergency convention in the state capital, to check the preparations till late last night where seating arrangement for more than 50,000 were made.
In a dramatic turn of events, the Samajwadi Party on Saturday revoked the expulsion of Akhilesh Yadav and Ramgopal Yadav, a day after they were ousted from the party for six years over anti-party activities.
Conveying his best wishes to Akhilesh, after his name was proposed for the party president's post, Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal said the former will work under the leadership and guidance of his father and party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav.
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