Lucknow: The ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) presented a united picture on Thursday as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav embarked on the first phase of the 'Samajwadi Vikas Path Yatra'.
While speculation was rife that SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his younger brother Shivpal Singh Yadav would give the event a miss, but both turned up at the event.
In the first phase of the Rath Yatra, which is being seen as a show of strength by Akhilesh, specially after the bitter turf war in the Yadav clan and the ruling party, the Chief Minister will cover 75km and will travel from Lucknow to Unnao, trying to sell his development plank.
But before the function, two groups of Akhilesh supporters clashed with each other, bringing back memories of a similar melee witnessed soon after he was sworn in as the Chief Minister on March 15, 2012.
In his address, Shivpal said the party was with Akhilesh in his yatra and extended his good wishes to the Chief Minister for its success.
However, Akhilesh ignored his uncle and state unit chief Shivpal.
In his address the Chief Minister took names of senior ministers, MP's party office bearers but did not name Shivpal and instead referred to him as the state unit chief only in the end.
Exhorting people to come out in favour of the party in the forthcoming state assembly elections, the 43-year-old Chief Minister said time has come to create history of sorts in the state by electing an incumbent government once again.
"We have heralded an era of progress and development in the state and I am confident that the people will elect a Samajwadi Party government again," Akhilesh said as the huge crowd applauded.
Mulayam began his address by paying homage to the brave hearts of the Indian Army who were martyred and suggested that the Prime Minister should meet their family members.
He also chided the young leaders of the party for sloganeering and instead asked them to work seriously for the victory of the party.