The faction-ridden Samajwadi Party on Thursday put up a brilliant show of unity when Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav, accompanied by his brother and state president Shivpal Yadav, flagge
The faction-ridden Samajwadi Party on Thursday put up a brilliant show of unity when Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav, accompanied by his brother and state president Shivpal Yadav, flagged off the ‘Vikas se Vijay Tak Rath Yatra’ led by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
The yatra, however, went on without the ‘rath’, a customised Mercedes bus, since the vehicle developed a snag and the chief minister opted for an SUV.
The yatra was flagged off almost two hours behind schedule from the La Martiniere school ground and sources said that the delay was because the SP chief was being persuaded and convinced to flag off the yatra. Mulayam Singh Yadav brought Shivpal Yadav along with him.
CM Akhilesh Yadav neither wished nor greeted his estranged uncle Shivpal Yadav and mentioned him as ‘state president’ in his speech. Most of the ministers also kept a safe distance from Shivpal Yadav who seemed visibly uncomfortable in the presence of youth leaders whom he had expelled last month. Senior minister Mohd Azam Khan was conspicuous by his absence and so were Amar Singh and Beni Varma. The expelled leaders’ presence on the dais was also unnerving for Mulayam Singh who said in his speech that the youth must learn to exercise restraint.
Mr Yadav dedicated a large part of his speech to martyred soldiers and asked the youth to fight against injustice but without violence. He also asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to meet the families of the martyred soldiers.
“The Samajwadi Party has a history of struggle and even I have faced blows of this. Shivpal Yadav has worked relentlessly for the party,” he said.
Shivpal Yadav conveyed his wishes for the success of the yatra and said that it would help the party return to power with greater majority.
Akhilesh Yadav said that the youth had the power to bring a change at the national level. He said that his government had done maximum work in the past four and a half years and the upcoming elections would change the face of national politics.
“Some people conspired against us and we even stumbled but the youth are our biggest support and we are moving ahead on their strength,” he said, and appealed to his followers to ensure the success of the party’s silver jubilee programme on Saturday.
Dimple Yadav, the chief minister’s wife, accompanied her husband. She said that the yatra would be historic.
The yatra, with over 5000 trucks and buses and over three lakh supporters, brought life to a halt in Lucknow on Thursday. All schools and colleges had been closed, and the main thoroughfares in the state capital remained jammed.