Mulayam expels Akhilesh, Ramgopal

LUCKNOW, Dec 30:
The ruling SP was today on the precipice of a split with party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav expelling his son and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and general secretary Ramgopal Yadav for six years after they put up candidates against the official nominees and summoned a party meet on Sunday.
The action, dubbed by a defiant Ramgopal, Mulayam’s cousin, as “unconstitutional”, as the party plunged into an unprecedented crisis raising questions over the fate of the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
On a day of fast-moving developments, hordes of frenzied Akhilesh supporters, especially the youth, thronged his residence to express their support.
Making the announcement at a press conference here, Mulayam said the new Chief Minister will be chosen by the Samajwadi Party.
With his brother Shivpal Yadav, who has been at loggerheads with the Chief Minister, by his side, Mulayam said he had taken the action against Akhilesh and Ramgopal to save the party which he had built through hard efforts.
“We have to save the party. The party comes first. That is why we are expelling both Akhilesh and Ramgopal,” he said.
He explained that the decision was taken after Ramgopal, in his capacity as general secretary, called an emergency meeting of the party on January 1 and Akhilesh “supported” it.
Ramgopal called the meeting after a showcause notice was issued to him and Akhilesh by Mulayam for releasing a list of candidates, parallel to the one issued officially by Mulayam.
“How can he (Akhilesh) release the list when the party has declared its candidates? Both Akhilesh and Ramgopal want to finish the party. I will not let it happen. I have built this party through hard work,” Mulayam said.
“I had made Akhilesh the Chief Minister with much fanfare,” he added.
With regard to the emergency meeting called by Ramgopal on Sunday, Mulayam said only the party president has the power to convene such a meeting. “The party cannot run on Ramgopal’s whims,” Mulayam said.
He said Ramgopal has not only indulged in indiscipline but is causing a big harm to the party. “As of now we have expelled him, but we will take further action against him,” he party chief asserted.
Pouring scorn on Ramgopal, Mulayam said he has “ruined” the finishing career of Akhilesh who “does not understand”.
A defiant Ramgopal termed Mulayam’s decision to expel him and Akhilesh as “unconstitutional” and insisted that he continues to be the general secretary of the party.
He accused party chief of indulging in “unconstitutional” activities and said the party meet called by him on Sunday will take place in any eventuality.
“If the top leadership of the party indulges in unconstitutional acts, who will call the party meeting? It is the general secretary who will do it,” Ramgopal said.
He questioned the list of candidates released by Mulayam, saying no meeting of Parliamentary Board was held to discuss the nominees.
Attacking Ramgopal, who has been a staunch supporter of Akhilesh, Mulayam said, “mehnat hum kare aur laab khaye woh (we do the hard work and they take the benefit)? I have gone to jail during Emergency. Has he?”
He recalled that Ramgopal had been suspended by him in September also for “indiscipline” and was given re-entry after he apologised.
The SP chief evaded a direct reply when asked whether he would pardon Akhilesh if he apologises.
Ramgopal said the candidates announced by Akhilesh will definitely contest the elections and those opposing the Chief Minister “will not see even the face of the Assembly”.
On his expulsion, he said the action was taken within two hours of the showcause notice and without caring to hearing the other side.
“This is unconstitutional act. Even in a court, the other side is given a chance to be heard. This did not happen in our party as the president (Mulayam) considers himself above the Supreme Court even,” he said.
He said Akhilesh had released the list of candidates following strong demand by the workers.
Meanwhile, Governor Ram Naik said, “I am keeping a watch on the issue.”
Asked if he viewed the developments as crisis in the ruling party, Naik said, “it is an intra-party issue.”
The Governor’s role will become crucial if SP chooses to replace Akhilesh as the Chief Minister. (PTI)