By Vivek Avasthi
Lucknow: Samajwadi Party leaders can now breathe easy. Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav has taken a step or two to give in to the demand of his sulking son, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Kumar Yadav and revoke the expulsion of youth leaders - Sunil Singh Sajan and Anand Bhadauria. Both, Sajan and Bhadauria, are said to be close lieutenants of Akhilesh who were sacked by Mulayam on charges of anti-party activities. Akhilesh had made public, his displeasure over this decision.
Sajan and Bhadauria were expelled from the party on 25 December last and this had triggered off a cold war between Mulayam and Akhilesh. The latter is said to have neither been consulted nor informed by the party leadership before the announcement of the decision to expel his close aides on allegations of sabotaging the prospects of the official candidates of the party in the ongoing elections for the posts of chairmen of Zila Panchayats in the state.
It was for the first time since the Samajwadi Party government came to power in Uttar Pradesh in 2012, such sharp differences between party supremo Mulayam and Akhilesh had come out openly in public glare. The differences in opinion have become so much visible between the father and the son that the latter chose to boycott the inauguration of the much hyped family affair — the annual Saifai Mahotsav.
Samajwadi party leaders were tight lipped about the whole incident and had no answers to offer as to why Akhilesh and his MP wife Dimple Yadav skipped the function, despite being in Lucknow. The family fiesta is being held at Saifai, the native place of Samajwadi Party supremo, for the last 18 years.
Akhilesh along with his wife and children were expected to attend the inauguration ceremony of the 17-day annual Saifai festival, featuring performances by Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, ghazal singer Peenaz Masani and several Bollywood stars. Akhilesh also did not go for the inauguration of the Indian Gramin Cricket League, a rural cricket tournament, on Sunday – granting the responsibility to Badaun MP Dharmendra Yadav instead.
Mulayam's younger brother and state Minister Shivpal Yadav is said to have played a crucial role in pacifying Mulayam and persuading him to take back the expulsion of the two youth leaders said to be very close to Akhilesh. Sajan is the former national president of party's student wing while Bhadauria led Lohia Vahini.
Earlier too, there have been differences between the father and son but things have been amicably resolved. This is for the first time that Akhilesh has shown his dissent in this manner, leading to speculations within the party and outside that he is still yearning for a freehand to run the government.
There have been numerous occasions when Mulayam has been seen publicly chiding Akhilesh from public platforms to improve the performance of his government and ministers, but this was always seen as a family affair indicative of a warm father-son relation.
The opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh have been crying hoarse ever since the Akhilesh government took charge in Lucknow in 2012 by saying that there are at least five chief ministers operating in the Samajwadi setup. This recent tiff between the father-son has given fresh ammunition to the opposition to take on the state government.
As of now, with the Assembly elections due in early 2017, Samajwadi Party leaders have heaved a sigh of relief after Mulayam revoked the expulsion of the two aides of Akhilesh. Some even say that this could well be seen as a new year gift from a father to his son!