As Akhilesh Yadav battles one uncle, another has thrown his weight behind the 44-year-old Uttar Pradesh chief minister in the Yadav vs Yadav family war now playing out in public. Ram Gopal Yadav, the cousin of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, said today that Akhilesh had not been informed about his father’s decision to remove him as the party’s UP chief and replace him with his uncle Shivpal Yadav. “When the chief minister was removed as state president, the leadership perhaps made a mistake in not informing him. They should’ve told him that with elections coming the role of state president must be played by someone else. He would’ve have resigned,” said Ram Gopal Yadav, calling it a “misunderstanding” and, like others in the family, stressing that “there is no crisis”. “If there are minor differences they will be resolved,” said Mr Yadav, a Samajwadi Party lawmaker in the Rajya Sabha, backing the Chief Minister on his prerogative to make decisions on government matters. “He says he took some decisions on his own. It is natural that he should take decisions,” he said. On Tuesday, hours after Mulayam Singh Yadav had removed Akhilesh as state party chief, widely seen as a punishment for his run-in with his father’s favourite younger brother Shivpal, the UP chief minister had divested his uncle of all his powerful portfolios as a UP minister, leaving him with only the social welfare ministry. Shivpal Yadav had rushed to Delhi yesterday to meet Mulayam Singh and both are expected to travel to Lucknow sometime today. Sources said he has strongly recommended that Mulayam Singh Yadav remove Akhilesh as Chief Minister and hold the post himself. “Shivpal’s portfolios were taken away because he was given charge of the state unit,” Ram Gopal Yadav said, indicating that it was party strategy to ensure neither leader was weighed down by too much responsibility in the run-up to the crucial Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. But sources say the family feud is tearing the Samajwadi Party apart five months before it makes a bid to retain the state. The 61-year-old Shivpal reportedly has on his side Amar Singh, whose return to the Samajwadi Party after six years in exile was opposed by Akhilesh Yadav. Also Mulayam’s second son Prateek, 28. Akhilesh Yadav is backed by Ram Gopal Yadav and his cousin and Lok Sabha MP Dharmendra Yadav.
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