Samajwadi Party hit by a fight between Akhilesh Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav just ahead of UP elections.
New Delhi: Akhilesh Yadav and estranged father Mulayam Singh Yadav are making a renewed effort at a truce to keep their Samajwadi Party from cracking in two just ahead of the election in Uttar Pradesh. After a meeting that expanded beyond two hours, sources said a peace treaty was discussed with these compromises: Mulayam Singh, who was replaced as party president on the weekend by his son, will reassume top boss role; Akhilesh Yadav will help decide the party's candidates; and Shivpal Yadav, who is Mulayam Singh's brother and a long-standing red flag for Akhilesh Yadav, will be granted a national role in party affairs, allowing the Chief Minister some more breathing space in Lucknow. However, as with all things Yadav recently, the health warning is that compromises have come unstuck with surprising alacrity.
Here are the 10 latest developments in this big story:
Indicating that a truce should not be considered accomplished, Ram Gopal Yadav, who is the main mentor to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, said that their claim to use the party symbol of the cycle remains valid. Ram Gopal Yadav met with the Election Commission today to file ownership rights.
The Election Commission could choose to suspend or freeze the party symbol and not allot it to either side if the Samajwadi Party splits.
Today's attempt at a reconciliation began with a phone call between Akhilesh Yadav and Mulayam Singh, who was in Delhi. The call was brokered by Azam Khan, a senior Samajwadi Party leader, who also organised a weekend meeting between the Yadavs, though a compromise was not accomplished on that occasion.
Mulayam Singh was then flown back to Lucknow on a chartered plane in the care of Gayatri Prajapati, a minister from Akhilesh Yadav's government.
Father and son then met privately, floating the hope that in the absence of aides with vested interests, they would be able to reconcile their differences.
Shivpal Yadav joined the meeting after nearly two hours. On the weekend, he was removed as the man in charge of the party in Uttar Pradesh. Separately, Akhilesh Yadav was named as party president and Mulayam Singh was given "mentor" status.
The meeting where these changes were made was attended by thousands of workers, making it clear that Akhilesh Yadav and not his father is the party's preferred choice.
The show of strength coerced Mulayam Singh into seeking a compromise. For his part, Akhilesh Yadav has repeatedly and emotionally said he has no wish to undermine his father. He described his hostile takeover of the president's post as the sort of "tough decision" that is sometimes needed to "protect the ones you love".
One of the major break points for the two factions was that the Chief Minster's choices for candidates were rejected and the party list of contenders was compiled entirely by Mulayam Singh and his brother, Shivpal Yadav, a hostile opponent of the Chief Minister.