A day after Akhilesh Yadav wrested control of the Samajwadi Party in a palace coup - taking over as national president from his father Mulayam Singh, ousting uncle Shivpal Yadav as the party's UP chief and expelling Amar Singh - Mulayam moved the Election Commission to reestablish his claim to the party.
The feud may end up in court and the EC may decide to freeze the party's symbol - bicycle - if a truce is not reached. Mulayam has termed Sunday's party convention, where Akhilesh was declared president, as "illegal" and threatened action against those who orchestrated the coup. But he no longer enjoys enough support - much of the party apparatus has sided with his son - to make good on his threat.
Catch spoke with Udaiveer Singh, a member of the UP Legislative Council and a close aide to Akhilesh, about the internal dynamics of the party and if the two factions would be able to reconcile their differences in time for the impending assembly election. Excerpts from the conversation.
So, what is next for the Samajwadi Party?
We will go to Netaji and tell him that an overwhelming majority of our workers, MLAs and MPs want Akhilesh Yadav to take over as SP chief, constitutionally. We are trying to convey to him that we want his good wishes and guidance. We are trying to tell him that the people who are egging him on and trying to make it an ego issue are conspirators who would gain at the expense of the party. The relations between father and son cannot be wished away. Akhilesh never tried to take over the party. If Netaji realises that even people close to him, including all senior leaders, now consider Samajwadi Party and Akhilesh as synonyms, he won't proceed on the legal front.
Who are these conspirators you are referring to?
Amar Singh is one of the key conspirators. He has relations with all parties. He has been misleading Shivpal Yadav who is overtly ambitious, egging him on, taking it to a stage where reconciliation has become impossible. If there were political differences, things could have been sorted out. He has been peddling wrong information and has created enmity. All those people who gain from the losses of Akhilesh and the party are conspirators.
Mulayam Singh says that he is the one who formed the party, so how can anyone take it over without his nod.
Whatever emotional attachment he has with the party, he has similar attachment with Akhilesh as well, who happens to be his son. Where is the contradiction? Netaji cannot go everywhere personally. The relationship has turned sour because he is being fed information partially, and not been told the true story.
I think Akhilesh's biggest mistake was that he believed that since he was doing developmental work, taking the party towards the path shown by his father, there was no reason for Netaji to get angry.
But Mulayam Singh is moving the Election Commission. He may also move court
Till the time he keeps getting mislead, there is a possibility he will remain upset and try all these options.
What happens if the EC decides to freeze the party's symbol?
Why would they do it? Even if that were to happen, then the father and son can always sit down and resolve the issue. If not, there will be a legal battle.
But right now it seems like reconciliation is not happening?
It's not the last day. Akhilesh is now a brand in UP. This election, from the beginning, has not been about the party or the symbol but is being fought on the plank of the work done by Akhilesh and his image. The people see him as a leader and Akhilesh is capable of leading the campaign. Even if people like Amar Singh create further trouble, we, the workers of the party, are ready to deal with it.
There are allegations that the chief minister's confidante Ram Gopal Yadav is mixed up with the BJP. This is something that Mulayam has also said.
The political fight is between Akhilesh and the BJP. So the people who are with Akhilesh and the party, how can you allege that they are playing in the hands of the BJP? Ram Gopal's status will only grow if Akhilesh succeeds. Amar Singh has far more established links with the BJP than Ram Gopal, links has been benefitting from.
Moreover, when an overwhelming majority of leaders and workers are standing on the side of Akhilesh, it is a clear message that this is in the interest of the party. No mass mobilisation ever takes place for anybody's personal interest.
What about the talk of alliance with the Congress?
There will be clarity on this in the next two-three days, after the leaders sit down and discuss the issue. There is a possibility it will fructify. Everyone would want to go for an alliance with Akhilesh. Congress leaders are keen that it should happen, and we, too, have no issues if the party decides to go into the elections as part of an alliance.
Is the list of candidates declared by Akhilesh the final one?
No list is final until the poll symbol is allotted.