Inside politics

Father vs son: Has Mulayam Singh Yadav finally given in to Akhilesh Yadav?

Will the chief minister be declared president of Samajwadi Party and given a free hand till the seven-phase Assembly elections are over in Uttar Pradesh?

A late night meeting held at the residence of Mulayam Singh Yadav has brightened chances of the Samajwadi Party founder finally giving in to his son, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, and declaring him the president of the party till the seven-phase Assembly elections are over in the state.

The development late on Thursday night followed the day long hectic efforts of Akhilesh Yadav to gather affidavits in his support from almost 90% of the MLAs, MLCs and the MPs of the party, while Mulayam Singh Yadav explored legal ways to stop his son from running away with the party the latter founded over two-and-a-half decades back.

The two Samajwadi Party factions have been asked by the Election Commission of India to submit all relevant documents, including affidavits from the party’s MLAs, MLCs and the MPs by January 9, in support of their respective claims to the election symbol.

After an extraordinary national convention of the party appointed Akhilesh Yadav as the president of the party replacing Mulayam Singh Yadav on January 1, the two sides gave their respective representations to the Election Commission, each claiming to be the real Samajwadi Party.

If Mulayam Singh Yadav, who has been left high and dry after the entire party showed signs of shifting to Akhilesh Yadav, sticks to the truce proposal, the EC may not get an opportunity to play an arbiter between the father and the son.

The late night meeting, which gave first indication of the breakthrough, was held after Mulayam Singh Yadav returned to Lucknow on Thursday evening, having spent the whole day in Delhi exploring legal options to keep the party under his control.

Besides Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav, the meeting was attended by the former’s brothers Abhay Ram Yadav, Rajpal Yadav and Shivpal Yadav, according to highly placed party insiders.

Though the party’s Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh, who accompanied Mulayam Singh to Lucknow, was also present at the latter’s residence, it could not be ascertained whether he attended the meeting.

For the sake of the party

These party insiders confirmed that “for the sake of the party” both Amar Singh and Sivpal Yadav offered to keep themselves away from the state politics. The extraordinary national convention of the party had adopted resolutions sacking Shivpal Yadav from the post of the party’s state unit president and expelling Amar Singh from the party.

A formal announcement of the truce is expected sooner rather than later, according to party leaders. “Mulayam Singh Yadav has to make the truce public and declare that he has made his son the new president of the party till the elections are over,” said a senior Samajwadi Party leader. “It is to prepare Mulayam for this announcement that a series of meetings have been taking place at his residence even on Friday,” he added.

Even while continuing to mount pressure on Mulayam Singh Yadav to agree to his son’s demands, the Akhilesh Yadav camp is simultaneously working to keep itself on sound legal footing. Ramgopal Yadav, a close aide of Akhilesh Yadav, is going ahead to submit all the supporting affidavits and other documents to the EC.

“Our demand is that the Election Commission should consider Akhilesh Yadav-led party as the real Samajwadi Party and allow us to use the election symbol of bicycle in the elections,” Ramgopal Yadav said.

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