Is Samajwadi Party headed for a vertical split? Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has denied any such possibility, vociferously stating at a party meeting that people are trying to create a rift in the SP. “People are saying a new party will be formed. Who is forming is a new party? I am not,” Akhilesh said.

But his uncle and party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brother Shivpal Yadav though claims otherwise. Lashing out at Akhilesh for removing him from the Cabinet, Shivpal stated that Akhilesh himself told him that he will form another party. He also reached out to Mulayam Singh saying that he should take control of the party again and should fight the upcoming elections.

“Everyone in SP needs to dedicate themselves to winning the 2017 UP elections. We can not tolerate liars in SP, we just can’t. People who work to weaken SP, who work against us…they should know we will form government again with Netaji’s sweat & blood,” Shivpal said.

Mulayam, in turn, backed Shivpal for his work over the years. “I will never forget the work Shivpal Yadav has done for me and Samajwadi Party,” Mulayam said.

Breaking down at the meeting of party legislators, ministers and MPs convened by Mulayam, Akhilesh stated that he would have given up the post if Mulayam would have asked for his resignation. “Let ‘netaji’ (Mulayam) install a chief minister who he feels is honest. Why should I form a new party? If Netaji asked me for resignation I would have given it. My father is my guru,” Akhilesh said.

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.