Lucknow: What started out as an exercise by Akhilesh Yadav to politically stretch his legs has come dangerously close to ending with him creating a party of his own in competition with father Mulayam Singh, who is unwilling to let the 43-year-old Chief Minister have final cut on the Samajwadi Party's plans for the election that begins next month.
Main go-between Azam Khan, a senior minister, has been scurrying between the two leaders' homes - which are linked to each other - but with little to show for it, despite family panchayats, where small groups have tried to separately counsel father and son.
A source, who was at one such session at Akhilesh Yadav's home late last week, said the Chief Minister spoke repeatedly about the respect he has for his father, but also complained of Mulayam Singh's reluctance to share power, if not transfer it, at the age of 77. In response, the Chief Minister was advised by a trusted non-politician, "Other fathers who are billionaires divide their crores among their children. But Netaji (Mulayam Singh) has, even while living, handed over his entire fortune -his political capital - to you. It was he who chose you as Chief Minister in 2012. It was he who toured every district asking party cadre to accept you as their leader."
Akhilesh Yadav told the gathering that he is happy to return the post of party president (snatched two weeks ago at a party conference) to Mulayam Singh after the elections are completed. The delay, he said, is to ensure that Mulayam Singh's aides, Shivpal Yadav and Amar Singh, do not interfere with the choice of candidates that the Chief Minister has compiled based on a calculation of their winnability. "Why won't Pitaji (father) agree to that?" he asked, frustrated.
Bollywood offered a rejoinder. Remember the blockbuster, Deewar, the Chief Minister was told. "Nirupa Roy reprimands her son, Amitabh Bachchan, 'you are not so rich yet that you can buy your mother.' It is the same thing- Mulayam Singh feels his son cannot dictate terms to him publicly."
Message not delivered - both sides have moved ahead to claim the party symbol of the cycle as their own, a prelude to announcing they will split into two parties.