Lucknow: It is still touch and go between father Mulayam Singh Yadav and defiant son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav though they met for two hours Tuesday to hammer out a compromise formula on power-sharing.
Amid the intense power tussle, Akhilesh met his father at his Lucknow home, leading to speculation that efforts were being made for a patch-up.
However, some senior party leaders close to Akhilesh denied any such effort, saying it was "too late".
After the meeting, a senior party leader close to Akhilesh told PTI that "it was too late. There is no scope for any settlement. The Election Commission will decide who will get SP's cycle".
Sources said the compromise formula could have been this: Akhilesh Yadav would step down from his new post as Samajwadi Party president if the Mulayam-Shivpal camp allowed him to choose poll candidates.
According to reports, Akhilesh is also said to be ready to restore presidentship of the party’s state unit to Shivpal Yadav.
On Sunday, Shivpal’s nameplate was forcibly removed from the party state headquarters by the chief minister’s supporters. But it was reinstalled on Monday, said the reports.
Earlier, Akhilesh Yadav visited Mulayam Singh’s house after the SP patriarch had returned to Lucknow from New Delhi. This was following a phone call between the UP CM and his father, brokered by party leader Azam Khan.
Mulayam Singh Yadav took a chartered flight from Delhi to Lucknow, reportedly accompanied by Gayatri Prajapati, a minister from Akhilesh Yadav's government.
Earlier in the day, Akhilesh Yadav's mentor and uncle, Ram Gopal Yadav met the Election Commission to stake claim to the party symbol.
Akhilesh confidante Ram Gopal Yadav asserted before the Election Commission that the party was "actually" headed by the UP CM and not its founder Mulayam Singh.
On Monday, Mulayam drove down to Nirvachan Sadan, the EC headquarters, to inform the poll watchdog that he continued to head the party and the decision to anoint his son Akhilesh as its president by the rival faction was unconstitutional as per the SP constitution.
Leaders loyal to Akhilesh – Ram Gopal Yadav, Naresh Agarwal and Kiranmoy Nanda – met the Commission this morning to stake claim over SP and its election symbol. All these leaders stand expelled from the SP by Mulayam Singh.
The Akhilesh Yadav camp in the Samajwadi Party on Monday claimed that it has the support of 90 per cent of the party’s members.
According to reports, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh's supporters in the party also claimed they were not unduly worried about the prospect of the EC freezing the party’s cycle symbol. Party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav is scheduled to visit the Election Commission Tuesday to submit Akhilesh’s claim as the new national president of the party.
MLC Rajpal Kashyap said that over 90 per cent of delegates put their signatures on the proposals taken up at the national convention called by Ram Gopal Yadav, including on Akhilesh’s appointment as the party chief.
“There was a rush among party leaders to put their signatures. Most MLAs, MPs, zila panchayat chairpersons did so,” he was quoted as saying. “We will keep the cycle as our symbol. But let it be known that Akhilesh himself is the symbol of the election,” he added.
Akhilesh is keen to avoid further confrontation, now that the party leadership is in his hands, said reports.
Sixteen of 20 Congress MLAs in the state spoke in favour of a pre-poll pact with the SP under the Chief Minister on Monday, breaking with the party leadership which has ruled out such an alliance. The MLAs claimed that Akhilesh is popular, has a clean image and secular credentials.
As many as ten MLAs said the party should enter into an alliance with Akhilesh....