The SP had been battling a damaging power struggle between Akhilesh and Mulayam for months. Photograph: (Zee News Network)
Mulayam said he wanted to remain party president and that if Amar Singh had to go, then so did Ram Gopal
By Manan Kumar
Indications emerged late Tuesday evening that the talks between Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav had failed.
But given the past history of U-turns, only Mulayam knows if this is the end of the drama or more surprises are in store. There is a likelihood of the father-and-son duo meeting again on Wednesday for a quick final bargain to strike a truce. The Election Commission is expected to announce the poll schedule for Uttar Pradesh along with four other states on Wednesday.
Talks ended in a stalemate after Mulayam demanded his own pound of flesh -- that he would remain the President of the party, and that if Amar Singh is ousted from the party, then Ram Gopal Yadav will also have to go. Mulayam, though, agreed to taking brother Shivpal out of state politics by offering him a Rajya Sabha seat, party sources said. Ram Gopal Yadav's ouster, who also happens to be his mentor, is not acceptable to Akhilesh.
The game of chess between father and son had entered a deadlock after the two were brought at the table by party heavyweight Azam Khan on Tuesday to sort out the feud.
Akhilesh who met Mulayam for four long hours in a one-on-one meeting placed five conditions in clear terms that included, Amar Singh would be completely ousted from the party, there would be no role for uncle Shivpal in state politics, tickets will be distributed as per Akhilesh's choice, Mulayam will not question alliances and would be made chief guardian of the party.
Sources said Akhilesh conveyed his father that it was either take it or leave it but he would always keep respecting his father by keeping him at the highest pedestal of chief guardian of his party.
As the meeting was being organised, Akhilesh's mentor and Mulayam's cousin Ram Gopal Yadav staked claim on the party and its symbol bicycle by showcasing having support of 90 per cent of the elected representatives of the party.
However, the ongoing feud gave union home minister Rajnath Singh and BSP supremo Mayawati to take potshots on the father and son.
Referring to the internecine fight in the Samajwadi Party, Rajnath Singh said the fight between father and son is painful, especially for a sensitive man like him.
The internecine fight is damaging the state and next government will have to undo the damage, added Rajnath.
He, however, chose not to answer whether he would consider the post of chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. The BJP has not projected that it's a chief ministerial candidate in Uttar Pradesh yet. Rajnath was the chief minister of UP for about a year and a half between 2000-2002.
Rajnath was also evasive if demonetisation will help the BJP in UP and said "some decisions cannot be looked at from the prism of immediate political gains and losses. The decision to demonetise was taken in national interest."
Exploiting the feud in Samajwadi Party, Mayawati in Lucknow asked Muslims not to waste their vote by choosing SP as it would divide their vote among two warring factions led by Akhilesh and Shivpal and help BJP win elections.
(This report first appeared in DNA)