Akhilesh Yadav’s favourite uncle Ram Gopal back in Samajwadi Party

Lucknow: In a new twist to the family feud in the ruling Samajwadi Party, Mulayam Singh Yadav today revoked the expulsion of his cousin Ram Gopal Yadav, weeks after the MP was expelled for six years after he publicly sided with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

70-year-old Ram Gopal, who was shown the door last month in the midst of a raging feud in the Yadav clan, will continue as leader of SP in Rajya Sabha and party spokesman among other posts, Mulayam said in a release here.

“Expulsion of Ram Gopal Yadav has been revoked. He will continue as leader of party in RS, spokesman, party’s National General Secretary and member of party’s national parliamentary board,” the SP supremo said. He would be reinstated with immediate effect.

The development comes a day after Ram Gopal’s fiery speech in Parliament, which featured a warning for the government over the currency ban.

Talking to reporters, Ram Gopal, who is a cousin of Mulayam and Shivpal, said he was happy with the decision and called it his “comeback” in the party.

“Mulayam cannot take any decision against me from the core of his heart… that is why he revoked the decision. I was technically not expelled from the parliamentary party. I was member of Samajwadi Party,” he said.

“It’s my comeback in the party. This is Netaji’s (Mulayam’s) ‘kripa’, he was never against me. I will work as per the directions of the party. I have always worked as a disciplined worker.”

“I have always been part of the Samajwadi Party. I will always be in the Samajwadi Party. Now that I am officially back, I thank Netaji,” said the Rajya Sabha MP, who was expelled from the party for six years in October 23 on the instructions of the SP supremo.

Ram Gopal, who had strongly supported Akhilesh during the family feud in the Yadav clan, is considered close to the chief minister. He is also considered to play the role of a “think tank” in the party.

Samajwadi Party in the third largest group in Rajya Sabha after Congress and BJP and Ram Gopal is widely seen as the party’s face in Delhi.

The crisis within the Yadav family pitted Akhilesh against his father Mulayam and uncle Shivpal months ahead of the UP elections.

Mulayam’s reinstatement decision might not go down well with Shivpal, who had levelled serious allegations against Ram Gopal while announcing his expulsion, saying he was working as part of a “conspiracy” in collusion with the BJP to weaken the SP and tarnish the Akhilesh Yadav government’s image.

While expelling Ram Gopal, Shivpal had accused him of trying to save his skin as his son, MP Akshay Pratap, and daughter-in-law were allegedly embroiled in a graft case being probed by CBI.

Shivpal had also charged Ram Gopal for the SP’s breakup from the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (grand coalition) in Bihar election last year.

For the record, however, Shivpal yesterday told reporters that whatever decision Mulayam took about Ram Gopal, he would welcome it.

Ram Gopal was sacked on October 23, hours after Shivpal and three other ministers considered close to him were sacked from the State cabinet by Akhilesh.

In an emotional outburst at a press conference in his native place in Etawah on Monday, Ram Gopal virtually broke down saying injustice had been meted out to him as he trashed the corruption charges levelled against him.

Seeking to project his loyalty to the ruling party, he had said he still considered himself “a part of the party”.

“I still believe I am a part of Samajwadi Party even if I am not operating officially,” he said.

Ram Gopal yesterday represented Samajwadi Party in a debate in the Rajya Sabha on the government’s sudden ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes last week and the impact on people who have been forced to wait for hours at ATMs and banks for cash.

He had suggested that the government send its ministers to a village, adding: “Women, they will hit you on the head with a rolling pin.”

He also made reference to Mulayam more than once in his Rajya Sabha speech, giving an inkling that the SP supreme might have a change of heart and his expulsion could be revoked.