Attempts at striking some sort of a patch-up or compromise between the warring factions of the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) having almost failed, both sides are now reconciled to a future of 'ekla chalo' (walk alone).
Sources say that the factions of party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, are bracing for "any eventuality", particularly in a situation where the Election Commission of India (ECI) frees the party's cycle symbol.
While political and constitutional experts opine that Mulayam Singh Yadav is better placed in his claim for the symbol and that he is likely to get it since the SP constitution clearly spells out in section 14, that only the national president can call a convention, the numbers — both of the lawmakers in the state assembly and party delegates seem to be stacked in Akhilesh Yadav's favour.
With uncertainty persisting and sources telling both sides that "to play safe" the poll panel might freeze the cycle symbol, both parties are scouting for "acceptable brands" as their future vehicle to power. While the Akhilesh Yadav camp is learnt to have "conclusively decided" on the motorcycle as the symbol for its Akhil Bharatiya Samajwadi Party (ABSP), the Mulayam Singh Yadav group has opened talks with the Lok Dal that was founded by the late Prime Minister and farmers' leader Chowdhary Charan Singh in 1980 — and to which the SP patriarch once belonged.
Mulayam Singh Yadav had contested the 1985 assembly polls on the Lok Dal's 'hal jotata kisan' (farmer ploughing a field) symbol as its state unit president. The Lok Dal had then won 87 seats and Mulayam Singh Yadav was made the Leader of Opposition in the assembly.
The SP's Amar Singh and Shivpal Singh Yadav have already held parleys with the Lok Dal leadership and the two sides have reportedly been engaged in talks on a larger canvas, a source confirmed. Chowdhary Sunil Singh, the national president of Lok Dal, confirmed that the SP leaders were in contact said that he would be more than happy to accommodate Mulayam Singh Yadav in the party fold if the situation so arose.
"Mulayam Singh ji is one of the founder members of the Lok Dal and also the flag bearer of the legacy of Charan Singh. It is sad that his very own son and party men have treated him so shabbily. We are more than happy to have Neta ji amid us, if it so happens" Sunil Singh said.
In the eventuality of the SP symbol being frozen or going to Akhilesh Yadav's group, the elder Yadav in all likelihood will soon have a home-coming and field candidates on the Lok Dal's symbol.
He has, since then, termed the convention both illegal and unconstitutional and has refused to accept any resolution it passed. in that convention. The convention had, by a voice vote, removed Mulayam Singh Yadav as the national president, appointed him a mentor, elevated Akhilesh Yadav as the new party chief, expelled Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh from the party for six years and sacked Shivpal Singh Yadav.
Six rounds of talks between the warring factions have failed and a resigned-to-fate Mulayam Singh Yadav has made it amply clear that talks of bringing them together have failed. He also accused Ram Gopal Yadav of moving ahead to split SP to see his MP son and daughter-in-law saved from the CBI which is probing their link in the multi-crore Yadav Singh scam.
Yadav Singh was the chief engineer of Noida Authority and son and daughter-in-law of Ram Gopal Yadav were on the board of directors of one of the front shell companies the tainted engineer had floated. Mulayam Singh Yadav has also alleged that his cousin has held four meetings with BJP president Amit Shah to save his son, in return for which he will engineer a split in the SP. Mulayam Singh Yadav has, however, declared that he will not let the split happen, nor will he surrender the party symbol.