In a fresh flip flop, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav made an attempt to reach out to his "rebelious son" and said that Akhilesh Yadav will be the chief minister if Samajwadi Party returns to power. In fact, going a step further, he even claimed that there are no factions within the party, which will contest the polls, which are less than a month away, as one single unit, according to CNN-News18.
However, the development came in small strategic steps taken by the party patriarch to give another shot to reach a truce within the cleaving party. Following this, Akhilesh is expected to meet his father once again in Lucknow on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, Mulayam on Monday insisted he had no differences with his son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav but admitted to fissures within the party.
The public admission came even as the Election Commission said it will shortly take a call on the claims on the party's election symbol 'cycle' by both factions — of Mulayam Singh and Akhilesh Yadav.
Before this fresh move, Mulayam had asked his supporters to prepare for the elections, appealing to them to choose the candidates wisely, with less than 12 days remaining in the deadline to file nominations. Interestingly, Mulayam had asked his supporters to send the nomination forms to him for approval, which needs signature of the elected president of a political unit, thereby reiterating that he remained the national in-charge of his faction.
Softening towards his son Akhilesh, Mulayam blamed cousin and Rajya Sabha member Ram Gopal Yadav for the feud within the party, after he met Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi to assert his claim over 'cycle', for the second time in a week.
"There are some who have influenced my son (Akhilesh). I had a talk with him last night and also in the morning over the issue. There is no dispute between my son and me. There are some differences within the party, not much. Only one person is responsible for this. That will be resolved soon when I reach Lucknow," he said.
Mulayam, who has expelled Ram Gopal Yadav from the party, also wrote to Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari apprising him about the action.
Ansari's office confirmed it had received the letter. "It will be duly examined."
While Mulayam remained tight-lipped about his talks with Zaidi, informed sources said he insisted that the 1 January convention in which Akhilesh ousted him as the president was "illegal".
Accompanied by loyalist Amar Singh and brother Shivpal Yadav, Mulayam spent nearly 40 minutes with Zaidi.
The Akhilesh faction too called on the poll panel and urged it to expedite its decision on the party symbol.
"We (urged) them to take a decision on the symbol as soon as possible because nominations (for Assembly polls) will start soon (17 January)," Ram Gopal Yadav later said.
He refused a comment on Mulayam's remarks.
Amid the tug of war over 'cycle', the EC will soon take a call "in a day or two", a source told IANS.
Earlier, Devendra Upadhyay, a lawyer representing Akhilesh, said Mulayam had yet again refused to accept a copy of the reply filed by Ram Gopal vis-a-vis the election symbol.
"The Election Commission had directed that before filing the reply with them we should provide a copy to Mulayam. I tried to give him a copy but he refused," Upadhyay told the media.
With inputs from agencies