A compromise eludes the feuding Yadavs in Uttar Pradesh, three months since the dispute germinated.
All contentious issues remain unresolved, though party leaders pompously claim truce, which is nothing but a farce. Protests outside party offices speak volumes about the growing dissent.
But one message which is loud and clear is that Mulayam Singh Yadav is supreme in the Samajwadi Party and he alone would take all decisions.
“The problem is acute, much more than what meets the eye. Akhilesh Yadav is a popular leader and the government is doing fine, then why these hesitations in projecting him as the CM face, or giving him his due credit? Who can understand conspiracies of the palace (referring to Mulayam’s large family)?” remarks Prof Manoj Dixit of Lucknow University.
Mulayam’s son and chief minister, Akhilesh, could have resigned or forced President’s rule in Uttar Pradesh, where assembly polls are due next year, the professor says, commenting on the CM’s public humiliation, which is perhaps the first in Indian history.
The problem was simmering since early June, but took a serious turn on September 12 when Akhilesh sacked controversial ministers Gayatri Prajapati and Rajkishore Singh. Next day, he removed chief secretary Deepak Singhal. He was doing his father’s bidding all along, but hell broke loose last month. Patriarch Mulayam removed Akhilesh from the party’s state president post and openly supported blood brother Shivpal Singh Yadav and political brother Amar Singh, despite growing dissent against the latter among the Samajwadis.
The father’s message to son: learn to live with both uncles. Akhilesh is perhaps left with little option but to accept Amar, eating his past remarks that he would never call an “outsider” his uncle.
Allahabad-based socialist leader Vinod C Dubey, who knows 76-year-old Mulayam since his youth, says the family is tarnishing its own image and that of Akhilesh too.
Among the unresolved issues are who will be the party’s chief-ministerial candidate in the 2017 polls. Senior leaders take Akhilesh’s name, but Mulayam insists legislators will elect the new leader after the elections. Apparently, Shivpal is forcing his elder brother’s hand.
Another tricky issue is party ticket distribution. Akhilesh has repeatedly demanded a say in selecting poll candidates. But Mulayam wishes to keep complete control over who to give tickets to contest as an SP candidate. Shivpal as state president will have a major say as Akhilesh loyalist and Mulayam cousin, Ramgopal, is now in no position to veto names. He has been expelled.
Ramgopal is unlikely to return, as are youth leaders from team Akhilesh who were given the marching orders before. Shivpal has remained stubborn to revoking expulsions. Mulayam is silent.
Akhilesh called the 2017 polls a test for the party and himself. He has planned a yatra or political march to start the campaign. But he needs uncle Shivpal’s support as he controls the party organisation.
Above all these, stands Mulayam. People now wonder what happened to his legendary political acumen.