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Shivpal Yadav calls for SP unity to fight ‘communal forces’

PTI | Lucknow |

Sidelined Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav on Monday stressed the need for unity in the party and Yadav family in order to fight “communal forces” in the country.

“I am still with ‘netaji’ (Mulayam). I will do whatever he directs me to do. I still pray for family unity. Only by being united, we can fight communal forces strongly,” Shivpal, who has been sidelined in the party by nephew Akhilesh Yadav, told reporters here, as he turned 63 today.

“The state is facing a lot of challenges. Farmers and youths are a disgruntled lot. Corruption is rising, but there is no one to hear,” he said.

Shivpal’s birthday, which coincided with ‘Basant Panchami’, was celebrated by his supporters as ‘Satat Sangharsh Diwas’ (relentless struggle day).

To mark the occasion, Shivpal also released an e book about his political life, where photos of Akhilesh, the former chief minister of the state, were conspicuous by their absence.

A close aide of Shivpal believed that a leader of his stature, who nurtured the Samajwadi Party and made it a principal political force in Uttar Pradesh, “cannot live in a state of limbo” for an indefinite period.

Soon after the elevation of Akhilesh as the party president in January last year, Shivpal had announced that he would float his own party by April 2017.

As of now, supporters of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Shivpal have suddenly become active and can again be seen reaching out to their old supporters.

“The 2019 Lok Sabha elections are hardly a year away and there is no let up in the war of attrition between Akhilesh and his uncle. It is time for Shivpal to act decisively,” a Shivpal supporter said.

Party insiders said it was too early to comment on whether Shivpal will go against the wishes of Mulayam and float a new political party, as the latter might not like the birth of a Samajwadi Party splinter group that could dent his son’s claim to the state throne.