Lucknow: Putting their differences aside, this morning Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav flagged off his son and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav's 'Vikas Rath Yatra', a state-wide tour that launches the 43-year-old's bid for a second term.
"I want to thank Mulayam Singh Yadav for flagging off the event," Akhilesh said, adding, "This UP election will change national politics."
However, as Mulayam Singh climbed the stage at Lucknow's La Martinier School for the flag-off this morning, there were clashes among party workers in the audience.
Mulayam Singh's younger brother and the party's state chief Shivpal Yadav was by his side at the flag-off. Shivpal Yadav has been engaged in a bitter power tussle with his nephew Akhilesh that came out in the open after an ugly spat at a party meeting last month. Mulayam Singh has been clearly seen in favour of his brother.
Today, howver, both uncle and nephew flanked the party chief on stage.
"I wish Akhilesh Yadav well for the Rath Yatra," Shivpal Yadav said.
Interestingly, Akhilesh's core team for the yatra comprises of seven youth leaders of the party, all banned by his father and uncle. Akhilesh reportedly wants to use the yatra to prove his popularity and settle the leadership challenge from Shivpal Yadav.