All roads lead to 5 Vikramaditya Marg on Monday as Mulayam Singh Yadav, the grand old patriarch of the Yadav Pariwar, prepares to write the political denouement of the on-going family feud that threatens to split the 25-year-old party at on the eve of party’s silver jubilee celebrations.
Mulayam has convened a crucial meeting of party elders at his residence after a game of sackings and expulsions marked the day for the party on Sunday. Akhilesh was the first to hit the headline by his shock and awe sacking of his uncle Shivpal Yadav from his cabinet. Not to be outwitted, the patriarch struck back by sacking his cousin and long-time confidante Prof Ram Gopal Yadav who had gravitated towards his rebel son Akhilesh.
Amidst this rotating strike by son and father speculation flew thick and fast of an imminent split in the party. Will Akhilesh pull off a coup? Regardless of the outcome of today’s meeting called by Mulayam, all the political moves on the Pariwar chessboard last few days point to only one fact - that this shall be a fight to the finish.
Also read: As party totters on brink of split, Mulayam may take strict action against Akhilesh
Mulayam has been resisting taking direct action against his ‘errant’ son. But how long will the Samajwadi patriarch resist the inevitable? Will he finally sign on the warrant that shall likely seal the split in the party. Or will he take strict action against some of Akhilesh’s close cabinet associates and make his son fall in line? The answers to all these questions shall cease to be a work of fiction sooner than later as both sides put on their battle-gear, ready to bite the bullet.
Akhilesh is narrowing down his options to prove he is the rightful heir to his father’s political legacy and that all the kitchen conspiracies within the pariwar shall not deter him from riding the bicycle into the political sunset of the Samajwadi Party.
Though son moved out of his father’s house early this month this was not to be read merely in terms of an ubiquitous government order or a GO. It wasn’t a vaastu correction either. Or, maybe it was. The storm was brewing. Everybody knew the storm was brewing. And yet everyone wanted to fake they didn’t see it coming.
Also read: Who is with whom as party divide deepens?
And one fine Sunday morning the storm came knocking on the Pariwar leaving devastation in its wake and threatening to blow up the very foundation of the Samajwadi empire. (read the Yadav family)
If the Samajwadi patriarch had been reluctant to stage a showdown with his son it was not because he was being dismissive of his son’s capability and ability to stand up to him but because he did not want to be seen as the one who was against the younger generation, who voted the party to a landslide victory in 2012 Vidhan Sabha polls.
It was just that Mulayam did not want to be projected villain of the piece by coming down heavily on his son and allowing him the chance to garner public sympathy in case he decided to go his way, in a worst case scenario. Certainly not at a time when the state was gearing up for yet another round of Assembly elections.
And if Akhilesh wanted to hunt his prey and eat it cold it was also part of a larger strategy to buy time, prepare his men for the final blow, garner logistical support for launching a new party and wade through a clutch of legal formalities for a new party name and a new party symbol well on time. Because once the split was formal, he will have o rush things through in order to keep his flock together and lead them to the next polls which are round the corner.
The Lucknow streets are abuzz with speculations Akhilesh’s new party name shall bear the Samajwadi stamp, no doubt, but papa’s manual bicycle shall be outwitted by its speedier clan - a motorbike - ( the generation X’s favourite ride ) as the new election symbol. This much and more to mark the split and the generational shift, to start with.
Back in the summer of 2012 the baton had passed rather smoothly - from Mulayam to Akhilesh. It was also symbolic of a generational shift but papa Mulayam had not bargained for this. The transition sat rather uneasy on the course father and son shall adopt as the Akhilesh government proved episode after episode it had a mind of its own and refused to be mere puppets in the hands of papa Mulayam or uncle Shivpal.
The five-year marked ceasefire violations from both sides from time to time. Both sides took turns in explaining they were not the first to break the ceasefire. They tried to keep each other in good humour only to hatch conspiracies back stage. The chessboard had been laid out for one final move that shall change the course of the Pariwar for a long, long time.
Sunday had all the elements of that challenging game of chess which kept the suspense of the final move hanging in the air. Amidst expulsions and sackings it is clear the pawns were just what they were - mere pawns - and now it is the turn of the kings and the wazirs to cross swords.