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Mulayam skips Shivpal’s event to celebrate birthday at SP office, targets leaders dividing party

Signalling that he was fully supporting his son and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday skipped his birthday celebrations organised by the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia), the party floated by his brother Shivpal Yadav.

While Shivpal waited for his elder brother in ancestral village Saifai, where a ‘dangal’ (wrestling) competition had been organised, Mulayam celebrated his birthday with the SP workers at the party headquarters in Lucknow.

The PSP (L) had organised programmes throughout the state on Mulayam’s birthday as ‘Secularism Day’.

Addressing workers, Mulayam apparently targeted Shivpal and his associates for trying to divide the SP.

“When everybody thought that the Samajwadi movement was over, I founded the SP in 1991. Some said Mulayam is a leader of one or two districts. We formed the (state) government four times and were a part of the Central government twice. But some leaders tried to divide the party, indulged in discrimination and got isolated,” he said.

Mulayam also asked the party to work out his plan for campaigning, indicating that he would be canvassing for the SP in Lok Sabha elections.

“My birthday will be successful when you aim for grabbing power in New Delhi. The government will be formed in Delhi when you stay united and Uttar Pradesh votes,” he said.

Mulayam reached the SP headquarters straight from his residence after Akhilesh came there to wish him on his birthday and stayed for about an hour.

In a tweet, Akhilesh said: “I congratulated ‘Netaji’ (Mulayam) on his birthday. He has taught us to follow the path of truth and non-violence shown by Mahatma Gandhi. He also taught us Dr Ram Manohar Lohia’s ideals that one has to identify the evil to end it and that the faith is the biggest asset of human relations.”

In the recent past, Mulayam had been sending confusing signals to SP workers by attending programmes organised both by Akhilesh and Shivpal.

But will Mulayam distance himself from the PSP (L) now?

Former head of the department of political science at Lucknow University SK Dwivedi said, “Mulayam’s stand is unpredictable. Let’s watch him for some time. It is high time he clarified his stand as his association with the PSP (L) has adversely affected the SP.”

Attending the event at the SP office, Mulayam appeared upbeat on seeing the gathering of young party workers, saying with such members, the SP would never get old.

“Youths are in good number. They are well-educated and know how to deliver a speech. We do not want the SP to be an old party. This is the party of the youth and 90 per cent of the crowd is young here,” he said.

“Induct more women and girls. They (women) should be assured that they are safe here. Once women are here, no one can stop the SP from coming to power. No one should get hurt by your behaviour,” Mulayam added.

“You should stand up and leave seats for seniors. Don’t think that by leaving your seat you are only giving respect. It is bringing respect to you as well. There should not be any discrimination on caste, religion or gender basis,” he said.

PSP (L) spokesman Deepak Mishra confirmed Mulayam did not attend the party’s programme at Saifai. “We organised programmes throughout the state in the honour of Mulayam,” he added.

First Published: Nov 22, 2018 21:02 IST

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