Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh on Friday denied he was a "hurdle" in Akhilesh Yadav's path and indirectly blamed the Uttar Pradesh chief minister's "supporter" and uncle Ramgopal Yadav for the vertical split in the party.
"Status of one is not gauged just by number or power. I want to clarify that I am no hurdle in the path of Akhilesh Yadav," Singh told reporters in Lucknow.
Favouring a patch-up between the two factions of the SP, he said, "Whatever is happening in the party is not because of me but because of a supporter of Akhilesh."
His hint was towards Ramgopal Yadav, whom he did not name.
Since the trouble in Uttar Pradesh's ruling party became public, Akhilesh has been insisting on sidelining or expulsion of Singh, whom Ramgopal and another senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan have dubbed an "outsider" in the party.
Singh, however, said, "One gets hurt by one's own and not by outsiders. It's difficult to fight own people."
On Akhilesh faction's claim of possessing signed affidavits of 212 MLAs, Singh said, "Mulayam Singh Yadav is alone and without any stature. I don't have the capacity to hear this."
Akhilesh and Mulayam have apparently been contesting for control of the party, with both of them readying documents of support to stake claim to the party's 'cycle' symbol.
"Those who were tainted when they were with Shivpal are now clean after giving affidavits in favour of Akhilesh. Ansari brothers are clean now... Now all have become 'Satyam, Shivam, Sunderam," he added.
Singh's reference was to tainted Ansari brothers of Quami Ekta Dal, whose merger with the SP was opposed by Akhilesh.
Noting that "politics is cruel and brutal", Singh said, "If standing behind someone is crime, Shivpal has committed the crime."
Attacking party lawmaker Kironmay Nanda without naming him, he said, "A party vice-president, who cannot speak clear Hindi has made allegations against me that I am indulging in wheeling-dealing here. I have not taken contract of a single penny here and am not involved in transfer-posting. I challenge him to get a probe initiated into it."
On another party leader Naresh Agarwal, Singh said, "He had been cabinet minister in BJP's Rajnath Singh government, he was in the Congress, the BSP and now in the SP. He labels me as BJP agent. I never take backdoor entry, whenever I adopt an ideology, I tell it to everyone."