Seeking to put at rest speculation, UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday ruled out forming any new party and offered to step down if the party supremo and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav so desires.
Akhilesh broke down while addressing a meeting of party legislators, ministers and MPs convened here by Mulayam Singh Yadav at the party headquarters, outside which supporters of rival SP factions exchanged blows prompting police to use force to disperse them.
Amid protests from his supporters, Akhilesh offered to step down as CM if Mulayam so desired.
“Let ‘netaji’ (Mulayam) install a chief minister who he feels is honest,” he said.
“Why should I form a new party?” he posed in an emotionally choked voice.
At the meeting Akhilesh said all these years he had toiled hard for the welfare of the people.
“Merey pita, merey guru hain (my father is my guru)” he said.
The Chief Minister said many people were trying to create divisions within his family using various machinations and that he had taught himself how to oppose any wrong doing.
His uncle Shivpal was present at the meeting.
Tension was palpable much before the meeting began with youth supporters of Akhilesh mounting pressure on the leadership in support of the chief minister.
The meeting assumed significance as it came a day after Akhilesh engaged in a face-off with his father by sacking each other’s loyalists Ramgopal Yadav and Shivpal Yadav.
Akhilesh had sacked Shivpal, his uncle and party’s state unit chief, along with three other “pro-Amar Singh” ministers from his Cabinet.
Mulayam, in a tit-for-tat action, expelled Ramgopal, pro-CM cousin and SP’s national general secretary, from the party for six years, plunging the party into worst-ever crisis days ahead of its silver jubilee celebrations and at a time when Assembly elections were barely few months away.
Amid talks that Akhilesh could give a miss to the silver jubilee celebrations of the party, the chief minister said, “Rath be chaley, sthapana diwas be maney (my rath yatra will go on and establishment day of the party will be celebrated).”
Akhilesh will embark on his ‘rath yatra’ on November 3, two days ahead of the silver jubilee event, which gave rise to speculation that he would skip the big show to express his displeasure over the recent developments in the party.
The chief minister said that he had connected with the masses with the help of Samajwadi Pension Yojana.
“People kept criticising me, but I went ahead keeping my promises to them,” he said.
An angry Akhilesh targeted Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh for the current developments saying that he (Amar) had hinted that some “major changes” would take place in October.
At the same time, the chief minister said that if he had said something beyond his limit, he should be pardoned.
(With inputs from PTI)