When Shivpal Yadav in a last ditch effort for a truce in the warring SP, called on UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Friday at the latter's official residence, expectations were high that the uncle and nephew would bury the hatchet and the stage would be set for an honourable patch-up.
But hours later, the suspense continues even as hectic meetings were on at the residence of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. Closed-door meetings at his residence between Amar Singh, Shivpal and peacemaker Azam Khan yielded no concrete results.
The adamant posturing of Akhilesh continued and by all indications, he is hell bent upon relegating his uncle in state politics, especially when he is armed with the pledged support of the majority of MLAs, MPs and MLCs within the party.
On January 1, the emergency conclave by the Akhilesh faction of the party had possibly set the agenda when, after the announcement by Mulayam's cousin Ram Gopal Yadav that Shivpal had been relieved of his duty as SP state president, there was much cheering by the huge crowd. The uncle's entire team was dismantled in seconds.
So months of eye-for-an-eye politics between the uncle and nephew now seems to be heading towards the uncle biting dust, as the nephew took away his support base.
Akhilesh and Shivpal were previously locked in a bloody battle for supremacy and tried scoring over each other through a series of sackings. But Shivpal now has no one but brother Mulayam to console him.
Insiders indicate that Akhilesh is in no mood to budge from his stand and wants his uncle out of the picture, at least in UP.
The latest trigger for the flare-up between the two was ticket distribution, where Mulayam had announced the list of candidates in the absence of Akhilesh and in the presence of Shivpal. While the uncle's say prevailed in ticket distribution, Mulayam sidelined his son.
This led to a chain political reaction, culminating in Akhilesh coming out with his own list, in which those believed to be close to Shivpal were not considered. Akhilesh had objections to people like Atiq Ahmed, Aman Mani Tripathi and the Ansari brothers being given tickets.
|Insiders indicate that Akhilesh is in no mood to budge from his stand and wants his uncle out of the picture, at least in UP. (Photo: Reuters)|
The nephew erased all such names of people believed to be close to Shivpal from his list.
The CM is now working to cobble an alliance with the Congress, which is to the dislike of both Shivpal and Mulayam. Even the post of state president has been taken away from Shivpal and handed over to Akhilesh loyalist Naresh Uttam.
To add insult to injury, those close to Akhilesh stormed the Samajwadi Party office and forced Shivpal's loyalists out. Shivpal had indicated then that he would lodge an FIR against the so-called coup.
But beyond the rhetoric of FIR and legality of Akhilesh's move, the reality is that Shivpal, who used to call the shots within the SP and quite often got his decisions endorsed by Mulayam, is an isolated man.
It was he who came to meet Akhilesh rather than the nephew going to him. Apparently, the winds have drastically changed their course in two weeks. It was under show of strength by Akhilesh that the uncle and father had to revoke their decision of ousting him from the party.
Akhilesh appears firm - he does not want his uncle to meddle in the affairs of the party. Now the big questions remain:
1) Where will Shivpal go now? Till the time Akhilesh calls the shots, it's unlikely he will be accommodated in the SP in any way.
2) With no sting left, Shivpal may not be able to cause any harm to Akhilesh and his camp.
3) Shivpal's elevation to national politics stands a good chance of being blocked by (currently ousted) Ram Gopal as Shivpal has already burnt bridges with him by expelling him from the party.
4) Shivpal's son Aditya may be accommodated by Akhilesh as a lollypop for his wounded uncle.
Shivpal does not seem to have many options left as the sceptre has been snatched from him and, like a wounded old lion, he is left licking his wounds.