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In the backdrop of power struggle in the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and the subsequent truce between the warring factions, the party leader who has suffered the maximum casualty in terms of posts of power and political stature is Shivpal Singh Yadav.
Shivpal, who is the uncle of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and the younger brother of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, has so far not only forgone his powerful state ministerial portfolios, but the key post of SP state president.
Much bigger than the ministerial and party posts is the loss of political standing of a leader, who was the most powerful cabinet minister in the Akhilesh cabinet and a trusted aide of Mulayam.
The transition of power from Mulayam to Akhilesh has irreparably dented Shivpal's public profile in the eyes of both, the public and party leaders.
Shivpal always wielded considerable clout in the government and SP with party cadres, especially the old guards directly interacting with him, while he carefully cultivated the image of a leader, who party workers enjoyed easy accessibility to.
Political pundits and the media have been tirelessly analysing as to who gained or lost in the SP power feud over attempts for greater control over the party and government by the warring factions led by Mulayam and Akhilesh and loosely representing the old and young leaders respectively.
Today, the hard reality is Akhilesh is the undisputed tallest leader in SP, who commands the support of all senior party leaders. Mulayam, who had initially put up a brave front, has conceded defeat and now stands behind Akhilesh, ostensibly for a united party in run up to state polls.
Some believe the squabbling in SP was part of a 'political drama' scripted by Mulayam, who has managed to craftily remove all possible hurdles in the part of Akhilesh and installed him as his political heir.
On the other hand, Shivpal has now been compelled to even route his candidature for the forthcoming UP poll through Mulayam.
Under the fast changing political dynamics which saw Election Commission deliver its verdict, Akhilesh is SP's national president, the incumbent chief minister of UP, SP's chief ministerial candidate, while his father Mulayam remains the most respected party leader and mentor.
On the other hand, Shivpal has been reduced to a pale shadow of his past. Akhilesh has started to reverse most of Shivpal's earlier decisions as the state party chief.
Interestingly, all this is playing out in SP, when Mulayam is politically active and is still openly speaking in Shivpal's favour.
In times to come, when Mulayam hangs his boot for good, Shivpal's path is sure to become thornier and tougher.
Siding with Mulayam during the intense fued, Shivpal has not only made enemies with other SP leaders and Team Akhilesh members, but even distanced himself from the Yadav clan members. Owing to Akhilesh' rising clout and growing political wisdom, none of the SP leaders and Yadav clan members have stood up for Shivpal.