Just when rumours were brewing that peace could still be brokered between the father and son in a cleaving Samajwadi Party, Akhilesh's staunch supporter and Mulayam Singh Yadav's cousin Ram Gopal Yadav has dismissed all possibilities of a truce.
Reiterating that Akhilesh Yadav was the party national president, he said that the Samajwadi Party will face the upcoming polls under Akhilesh's leadership. He also said that there is no confusion within the ranks of the party as to who held the reins. He, however, said that as far as the party's election symbol is concerned, the final decision will be taken by the election commission.
In the war between son Akhilesh Yadav and father Mulayam Singh Yadav, the party's old horse seemed to be taking a back foot as the Uttar Pradesh chief minister called an emergency convention of the party workers and reportedly got elected as the party president, dethroning Mulayam. Sobered after his son showed off his strength, media reports claimed that the Mulayam camp was mulling some negotiations.
Meanwhile, prominent Muslim face of the party Azam Khan, who has attempted to broker peace between the father-son duo even in the past, also sent out mixed signals stating that a truce was not impossible. Khan, who had prevailed on Mulayam to revoke the expulsion of Akhilesh and cousin Ram Gopal Yadav before they "removed" him from the party president's post, said he will do what he can to bring about a rapprochement.
"Anything is possible. Who would have thought that their expulsion would be revoked?" he told reporters.
Khan even succeeded in bringing the two on the same table as Mulayam and Akhilesh met in Lucknow and were even joined by Shivpal Yadav later, according to a report in NDTV.
However, soon after, Ram Gopal Yadav, who has been backing Akhilesh since the start of the rift within the party, hinted that the situation has moved beyond the tipping point, stating that there was no chance of a truce. "SP mein koi samjhauta nahi hone jaa raha hai, dono pakshon ne Election Comm ke samne apni baaten rakh di hain, (There are no talks of a truce in the Samajwadi Party and both factions have put their claims in front of the Election Commission)," Ram Gopal Yadav was quoted as saying by ANI.
Cycle, the election symbol of Samajwadi Party since it was founded by Mulayam 25 years ago, is a tremendous asset for both factions as thousands of voters identify with it. The dispute over it shifted to Delhi as the Akhilesh camp told the Election Commission that the party is "actually" headed by him now and not Mulayam.
"The real Samajwadi Party belongs to us as 90 percent of the people support us," Ram Gopal, who is Mulayam's cousin and has sided with Akhilesh in the family feud, told reporters after meeting the Commission.
On Monday, similar claims were staked by Mulayam as the veteran leader drove down to the EC headquarters, to inform the poll watchdog that he continues to head the party and the decision to anoint his son Akhilesh as its president by the rival faction was unconstitutional as per the party constitution.
Now, with the rival factions staking claim over the party and its symbol, the ball is in the Commission's court. Since the assembly elections to Uttar Pradesh are set to be announced any day now, the Commission has little time to adjudicate the matter.
As an interim measure, it is now likely to freeze the cycle symbol and ask the two factions to contest on a new symbol.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Jan 03, 2017 17:46 PM