Mulayam Singh Yadav and his comrade-in-arms brother Shivpal Yadav today skipped the Samajwadi Party’s national executive where Akhilesh was re- elected as the party president. However, while Akhilesh was the cynosure of all eyes, his father and party founder Mulayam Singh was on everyone’s lips. The absence of 77-year-old Mulayam and Shivpal was the talking point among the delegates assembled here for the two- day national executive meeting and national convention of the SP, which began here today. Mulayam’s absence was more pronounced given the fact that Akhilesh had personally met him in Lucknow before the Agra meeting to extend an invitation for gracing the occasion. Speaker after speaker, including Akhilesh, referred to the absence of Mulayam from the event.
“I requested ‘netaji’ (Mulayam) to attend the convention. Everyone would have liked it (his presence),” said Akhilesh, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, in his address. “I talked to him (Mulayam) yesterday and today also before coming to the convention. I told him that it a big convention and amendments in the party constitution will also be passed and without your blessings the party cannot progress,” he said. Akhilesh said Mulayam “has given blessings to all of us” over phone and wished that the party is strengthened in UP and throughout the country. There was even a reference to Shivpal, Akhilesh’s uncle. Akhilesh and Shivpal have been at loggerheads since the family feud broke out in January this year. Apparently to send a message of all-is-well in the Yadav clan, Akhilesh had yesterday said that his estranged uncle Shivpal blessed and congratulated him over telephone.