Uttar Pradesh's famous uncle-nephew duo, Shivpal Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav, continue to be at daggers drawn.
Assembly elections round the corner and following the grand alliance of convenience between the SP and the Congress, the message being sent out to the electorate is that Uttar Pradesh's ruling party remains a fractured outfit.
For UP chief minister Akhilesh, the enemy number one is no longer the BJP or BSP, but his uncle - and father Mulayam Singh Yadav.
If he wins the battle at home, he may be able to chase the larger ambitions of coming back to power.
Uncle Shivpal Yadav had to bite the dust when, on New Year's, Akhilesh virtually stripped him of his powers.
Shivpal chose silence - even when his most trusted men were systematically done away with by the UP CM.
|Shivpal said that though he would fight on the SP ticket from Jaswant Nagar, he will campaign only for the candidates endorsed by party supremo Mulayam. Photo: PTI|
He was waiting for the opportune moment and chose to hit back moments after filing his nomination for the upcoming elections.
In several ways, he echoed the sentiments of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and it was with generous praise for the latter that Shivpal targeted Akhilesh.
Shivpal said that though he would fight on the SP ticket from Jaswant Nagar, he will campaign only for the candidates endorsed by party supremo Mulayam.
Mulayam has already made it clear that he will not campaign for the alliance that was forged much against his will - and went a step further to say that he wanted his own candidates to contest the 105 seats the Congress is fighting on.
Those close to Shivpal and Mulayam have been making a beeline for parties opposed to the SP and thus acting inimical to the interests of Akhilesh and Rahul. But they have the blessings of the senior Yadavs. If Shivpal campaigns for these candidates, will it not limit the prospects of the candidates announced by his nephew and the Congress? It may split the traditional vote bank.
But Shivpal has bigger ambitions. He is confident that the alliance will fail miserably and has declared without mincing words that he "will form the party".
The statement raises two key questions:
At this stage, Akhilesh's uncle appears to be confident of witnessing the crushing defeat of his alliance with the Congress.