Mulayam skips award function as Akhilesh refuses to sack minister

Lucknow: The differences in Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Samajwadi Party came to the fore once again on Thursday as its chief Mulayam Singh Yadav skipped the ‘Yash Bharti’ awards function after Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav refused to dismiss a minister expelled from the party.

This is for the first time in 22 years that Mulayam Singh has not attended the awards that he had initiated in 1994-95 as Chief Minister. While big newspaper advertisements announced that the SP chief would be part of the function in which 72 eminent persons from different field were felicitated, he did not turn up.

However Akhilesh Yadav, in his five minute speech mentioned Mulayam Singh’s name at least nine times, suggesting that he was trying to placate his father, who is said to be very upset with his son for not sacking minister Tej Pratap aka Pawan Pandey despite his expulsion from the party for six years on very serious charges of beating up legislative councillor Ashu Malik.

Akhilesh’s uncle and state party chief Shivpal Yadav had demanded Pandey be dropped from the ministry. Read More: SP pari’war’ rift: Has Mulayam Singh Yadav brokered peace? On the other hand the Chief Minister held a meeting with regards to preparations of his Path Yatra which will hit the roads on November 3, with his confidantes including Sanjay Lathar, Sunil Yadav ‘Sajan’, Arvind Yadav and Anand Bhadauria, all party leaders who have been expelled by the party for six years.

Mulayam Singh is seeing this as a direct confrontation with himself, as the Chief Minister is not towing the party line, creating an uncomfortable situation.