Mulayam Singh Yadav faces biggest test of his career

LUCKNOW: Samajwadi supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav faces the biggest test of his political career at 10.30am on Saturday when he has called a meeting of all 393 candidates Samajwadi Party has ‘officially’ declared for the UP polls+ . Since a majority of these candidates are also on a parallel list announced by CM Akhilesh Yadav, it would be interesting to see whether they all will come for the SP patriarch’s meeting.Akhilesh, too, has convened a meeting of MLAs at 9am as a showdown against his father to establish that majority of SP MLAs are with him. Even a marginal drop in attendance at Mulayam’s meeting will bring a big embarrassment to the party leadership pitted against the CM in the game of one-upmanship, say analysts.

In the past, Mulayam had differed and parted ways with senior colleagues like Chaudhary Charan Singh, VP Singh, and Chandra Shekhar to build his political career. Now, his son is asserting himself on the political turf which has created a wedge between them.

There have been reports that Akhilesh may have got a new party — Rashtriya Samajwadi Party — with the motorcycle as its symbol.

Ironically, SP stands divided in its silver jubilee year+ . The pariwar, too, is now divided with four out of five SP MPs in Lok Sabha — Dimple Yadav, Dharmendra Yadav, Tej Pratap and Akshay Yadav — in Akhilesh’s camp.

The SP chief on Friday termed the emergency session of the party’s national delegates on January 1 convened by sacked SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav as illegal. Later, state SP chief Shivpal Yadav also issued a letter to party workers saying anyone attending the session would be expelled.

The 76-year-old patriarch in his news conference said that he had appointed Akhilesh as CM with lots of expectations but was left disappointed.Akhilesh did not make any comment on his expulsion and asked party workers not to speak a word against Netaji (Mulayam).Amid all the drama, Shivpal, too remained mum. Though he was present along with Mulayam at the news conference, Shivpal did not address the media, apparently to avoid the ire of Akhilesh supporters.

Political experts say Saturday’s meeting will decide the future of Brand Akhilesh versus the SP Old Guard. Akhilesh, who has been thrown out of the party+ , has not reacted against his father so that he does not spoil his suave and cool image in public.