Samajwadi Party to hold convention in Agra

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The Samajwadi Party's (SP's) rift came to a full circle on Thursday with its current party president, Akhilesh Yadav, being elected as the SP chief for the next five years, following a party vote at its 10th National Convention in Agra.

Addressing a press conference a day ahead of his party's two-day national convention, the former UP chief minister was asked about reports that his uncle had called him up. But even these rumours are also likely to be washed out, as, Akhilesh meet his father personally in Lucknow last week to extend an invitation for the conventions. Sources close to Shivpal, however, said he may not attend the Agra convention as he was not an office-bearer in the party nor a delegate.

Though there seems to be a cold war going on within the party, Mulayam said that "My blessings are with him (Akhilesh Yadav) as he is my son, though I don't agree with his decisions". "Everyone would have liked it (his presence)", said Akhilesh, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, in his address.

Along with re-electing Akhilesh, the party is also expected to pass an amendment to its constitution, which would increase the terms of office-bearers from three to five years.

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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. "The feud in SP's first family is a festering wound".

He also telephonically spoke to his estranged uncle Shivpal Yadav on Wednesday evening, after nine long months. "I got the benefit of my age and our relation". Ramgopal had proposed his name.

"I want to tell you that at a meeting in 1992, I was crying and "netaji" (Mulayam) told me that it was not the time to do so and he should be ready for the fight", he said.

Both Mulayam Singh and Shivpal Yadav skipped the event which saw the presence of senior leaders Ram Gopal Yadav, Azam Khan, Kironmay Nanda, Naresh Agarwal, Dimple Yadav and Jaya Bachchan.