LUCKNOW, Oct 23 - The ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh appeared to be headed for a split today as Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his party supremo and father Mulayam Singh were engaged in an open face-off, sacking each other�s loyalists Shivpal Yadav and Ramgopal Yadav.
While Akhilesh sacked Shivpal, his uncle and party�s state unit chief, along with three other �pro-Amar Singh� ministers from his Cabinet, his father hit back by dismissing Ramgopal, the pro-CM cousin and SP�s national general secretary, from the party for six years.
The fast-paced developments unfolded this morning when Akhilesh held a meeting of party legislators, a day ahead of a mega meeting of party MPs, MLAs, MLCs and ministers called by Mulayam where some more tough decisions were likely to be taken.
After the meeting, the Chief Minister recommended to Governor Ram Naik that Shivpal, Narad Rai and Om Prakash Singh (all Cabinet ministers) and Sayeda Shadab Fatima (MoS; independent charge) be sacked from his ministry. This was accepted immediately.
While the meeting was under way, hundreds of Akhilesh�s supporters collected outside his residence, raising slogans in his favour. Significantly, before Akhilesh announced the sacking of Shivpal and three other ministers, Ramgopal issued a letter written to party workers, expressing support to the Chief Minister and warning those opposing him.
After his sacking, Shivpal met Mulayam at his residence, which is just nearby that of the CM�s bungalow. Hours later, he announced that the SP chief had expelled Ramgopal from the party for six years.
Party legislators who met at the residence of the Chief Minister today were said to be in a belligerent mood, opposing any action that could sideline Akhilesh in the run-up to the Assembly polls.
The tenor of the delegates was to crack the whip on supporters of Amar Singh, whose induction into the party two months ago had triggered a similar hullabaloo, according to party sources.
The developments came a day after Akhilesh skipped an important strategy meeting of SP district and city unit presidents called by Shivpal. The CM instead separately met the delegates later at his official residence. � PTI