The infighting in the Samajwadi Party shows no signs of abating with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav announcing his decision to embark on 'Samajwadi Vikas Rath Yatra' alone from 3 November which will make him skip the party's silver jubilee celebrations, slated to begin two days later.
In a letter to his father and party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Chief Minister declared his intention to commence his yatra, which was put off last month after the open turf war with his uncle Shivpal Yadav, saying all political parties have already started their campaign for the Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.
"I had decided to take out the yatra from October 3 but it was cancelled due to some reasons. I will take out the 'Samajwadi Vikas Rath Yatra' from November 3," Akhilesh wrote.
The announcement gave rise to speculation that Akhilesh might skip SP's sliver jubilee celebrations that begin on 5 November to send a message that he was unhappy over the expulsion of youth leaders from the party, who would not be present at the event.
Apart from reaching out to people and galvanising party workers, Akhilesh's yatra is seen as a move to truncate the influence of Shivpal, who had been appointed the new state party president in his place. Akhilesh has also sent copies of the letter to state party chief Shivpal Yadav and National General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav. He said yatra's detailed programme will be communicated to district presidents and party workers in due course.
Earlier in the day, Akhilesh, Shivpal Yadav, and Mulayam held a closed-door meeting at party supremo's 5 Vikramaditya Marg residence to discuss poll strategy. According to party sources, Akhilesh is adamant on his demands of revoking the expulsion of youth leaders, some of whom are MLCs, and having his say in the ticket distribution.
Akhilesh had earlier announced his decision to take out the yatra from 3 October through his Twitter handle with a picture in which he was seen sitting inside a bus. He had last month hit back over his removal from the party post by stripping Shivpal of his key ministerial portfolios but had to retreat as Mulayam stepped in.
The infighting continued unabated with Mulayam siding with Shivpal and his cousin Ram Gopal throwing his weight behind the the Chief Minister. The distribution of tickets and whether Akhilesh should be projected as CM candidate remain a bone of contention.