In a first, Mulayam Singh Yadav skips Diwali at ancestral village

Lucknow: Amid the ongoing feud within the first political family of Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party’s patriarch and chief Mulayam Singh Yadav did not visit his ancestral village Saifai for Diwali, giving it a miss for the first time.

Sources said an unwell ‘Netaji’, as Mulayam Singh is popularly called within his party, had got a whiff that his cousin and expelled Rajya Sabha member Ram Gopal Yadav was scheduled to be in Saifai and hence decided to stay put at his Vikramaditya Marg residence in the capital city Lucknow.

His son and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, however, drove to the village on Diwali and met his relatives, family members and local party workers.

Akhilesh visited his uncle Rajpal Yadav, another relative Ajant Singh Yadav and also went to greet Ram Gopal Yadav on Diwali. He was closeted with his uncle for more than 30 minutes.

Ram Gopal Yadav was expelled from the party on October 23 after he shot off a series of letters to Mulayam, levelling charges against him and throwing his weight with Akhilesh.

State unit chief Shivpal Singh Yadav, who is the younger brother of Mulayam, came to Saifai late in the evening but by then the Chief Minister had flown off back to Lucknow.

While aides said the flight was scheduled, political observers said the fact that Shivpal and Akhilesh did not meet on Diwali also reflected the fact that the hostilities within the Yadav clan were far from over.