Lucknow, June 29: Rift in Mulayam Singh Yadav's family came to the fore on Wednesday,June 29 at the birthday party of his brother Ram Gopal Yadav, with another brother Shivpal Yadav displaying his disinterest apparently because of his unhappiness over the fiasco involving merger of Quami Ekta Dal with SP.
Shivpal Yadav, a senior SP leader, arrived late at the venue of the party, so much that the birthday cake had already been cut in the presence of Mulayam, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and other key leaders.
Shivpal arrived with Amar Singh and instead of going to the dais, he sat among the invitees at the birthday party. Later, on prodding by leaders, he went to the dais but chose to occupy a chair in the back row, avoiding the front seats, clearly displaying his disinterest.
However, after persuasion by some senior leaders, Shivpal came to the front row, wearing an uneasy look. Amar Singh came in tow.
During the programme, Shivpal avoided eye contact with the leaders sitting on the dais including Mulayam, Akhilesh and Ramgopal Yadav.
He even avoided going up to Ramgopal to wish him on his birthday. Earlier, Shivpal was conspicuous by his absence at swearing-in ceremony of ministers at Raj Bhawan on Monday.
He is said to be sulking since his party's Parliamentary Board cancelled the merger of Quami Ekta Dal (QED) of gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari with SP which had been announced by him at a press conference last week.
The merger was cancelled at the behest of the Chief Minister, sending signals that members of the first family were not on the same page.
Akhilesh had also sacked senior minister Balram Yadav for facilitating the controversial QED-SP merger though the Chief Minister re-inducted him in his team later.
The growing chasm in the Yadav family comes at a crucial time when distribution of tickets for the 2017 Assembly polls and new electoral alliances might create more friction.
The choice of a new Chief Secretary to replace Alok Ranjan, who is superannuating tomorrow, might also cause some bad blood as the front runners reportedly belong to separate camps.