Janata Parivar veterans call for ceasefire in SP
Lucknow, Nov 7: Worried that the continuing infighting will hit its prospects in the Uttar Pradesh elections, the erstwhile Janata Parivar wants an immediate ceasefire in the Samajwadi Party.
If RJD chief Lalu Prasad was seen trying to strike unity between the two camps in the Samajwadi Party on Saturday, Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav played the arbitrator on Sunday.
Extending his stay here by a day, the Rajya Sabha member met Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, state party chief Shivpal Singh Yadav and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav separately.
He is learnt to have convinced them against any more fights and explained to them the perils of infighting on election eve.
Senior leaders of the socialist camp are worried that the war within the Samajwadi Party may ease it out of power in the country's most populous state.
Lalu Prasad's youngest daughter is married to Mulayam Singh's grand nephew and Mainpuri MP Tej Pratap Singh.
He is learnt to have told both Shivpal Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav to bury the hatchet.
When Minister Gayatri Prajapati gifted swords as mementoes to Shivpal Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav, Lalu Prasad brought the unwilling pair together and told the Chief Minister to touch his uncle's feet on Saturday.
The former Bihar Chief Minister also forced Shivpal Yadav to put his hand on Akhilesh Yadav's head as a gesture of blessing.
Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda is also learnt to have spoken his mind on the need for unity in the Samajwadi Party.
This, Gowda said, was vital to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Informed sources say that most of the leaders who had come as special guests from Delhi seemed favourably disposed towards Akhilesh Yadav being the party's face and the rightful successor to Mulayam Singh's political heritage.
But despite the close-door counselling sessions and the open public pitch for a ceasefire, the swords are not back in the scabbards.
After initial jovial exchanges and all-is-well photographs, Shivpal Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav returned to what they do best - firing salvos at each other.
A close Akhilesh aide, Javed Abdi, was heckled and pushed from the dais by uncle Shivpal Yadav the moment he started praising the young Chief Minister.
The Samajwadi Party is ranged against two powerful opponents in Uttar Pradesh: the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the BJP.
There is intense speculation that the Samajwadi Party and the Congress may have an alliance in the elections due early next year.