"Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossible, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me..... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” – Shel Silverstein, American author/cartoonist, who had won two Grammy awards, never visited Lucknow but said what he generally observed all his life.
With the floodgates of fresh political possibilities having been thrown open by the ongoing feud within the ruling Samajwadi Party, anything can happen. Anytime.
The UP chitchat bazaar is already sizzling with all kinds of hypotheses, speculations, surmises, assumptions and presumptions.
Here are five selected ‘possibilities’ that appear to be doing the rounds even in the corridors of power in Lucknow:
Possibility number 1: Nothing much would happen. Knowing ‘Netaji’ Mulayam Singh Yadav’s continued hold over his kith and kin as we do, both ‘Chacha’ Shivpal Singh Yadav and ‘Bhatija’ Akhilesh Singh Yadav will bow down to listen to the ‘fatwa’ of the patriarch. And, perhaps, both, the feuding chacha and bhatija are getting prepared mentally for receiving fatherly/brotherly scolding at the proposed close-door family meeting in Lucknow.
Should this happen, the ‘chacha’ might get back his prize portfolios and the ‘bhatija’ his presidentship of the state unit of the party. There would be smiles all over again. No more bruised ego and no further acrimony. No, not any more at least until elections.
Possibility number 2: The ‘chacha’ might get back his portfolios but the ‘bhatija’ might not become president of the state unit of his party again. In this case, the ‘bhatija’ will limp along as chief minister as always with a bruised and battered ego. And the chief minister’s image as a ‘bechara baalak’ (good but a helpless boy) shall live on.
Possibility number 3: The chief minister might choose to go ahead with his ‘rebellious’ mindset. He may refuse to return the coveted portfolios to chachaji. And he may never agree to restore chief secretaryship to Deepak Singhal, come what may.
In this scenario, the chief minister might threaten to put in his papers. And should the situation further demand, he may even drive down to the Raj Bhavan unnoticed to hand over his resignation letter to the governor, plunging the state into political uncertainty, if not chaos.
Can you imagine would happen next from here on in the run-up to elections?
Possibility number 4: You never know, the circumstances might force ‘netaji’ to become chief minister of UP for the fourth time. He may not like it but so what. Such situations don’t give you any exit route.
Already reeling under the pressure of anti-incumbency, the Samajwadi Party may not, in this purely hypothetical scenario; find itself fit enough to cope up with the jolt given by a rebellious ‘son’.
Like it or not, it’s Akhilesh Yadav – and not anybody else -- who has been the party’s poster boy during the past four and a half years. And it’s Mulayam Singh Yadav – and nobody else – who controls the votes which the Samajwadi Party has been getting all these years. Indeed, the party would find itself placed between the proverbial two horns of a dilemma: Akhilesh’s face versus Mulayam’s votes. They know they can only choose one over the other to their peril. They do need both the face and the votes in the election year.
Possibility number 5: Coming to terms with seriousness of the predicament, the patriarch would prefer to buy time for the tempers to cool down on both sides.
Remember, both Shivpal and Akhilesh have been hurt. And nobody is a winner. If the chacha has lost his coveted portfolios, the bhatija too has lost his presidentship of the party. And, as far as the former chief secretary is concerned, he can be forgotten as an expendable commodity. In politics, bureaucrats happen to be easy scapegoats. No tears please.
Away from the bazaar of speculations in this battle-scarred Lucknow, a Shakespearian saying comes to mind: “We know what we are, but not what we may be.”
True. Everything from men to mindsets undergoes changes. In fact, change is the only thing that doesn’t change. Only God knows how things would finally shape up. Let’s stop speculating. For once.