Akhilesh responds to Shivpal's offer with a cold silence
The olive branch extended by Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party Lohia (PSPL) President Shivpal Yadav to his estranged nephew and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav has, apparently found no takers.
More than 24 hours after Shivpal Yadav put forward a proposal for unity on Mulayam Singh Yadav's birthday on November 22, Akhilesh Yadav has chosen to completely ignore the overture.
Shivpal had suggested that the birthday celebrations of Mulayam Singh should be held in their native village Sefai in Etawah and the entire family should come together for the event.
Akhilesh, however, has directed all district units of his party to celebrate the occasion in Lucknow, sources said.
It is not yet known if Mulayam Singh would opt for Lucknow or Etawah on his birthday.
According to a former SP minister, known for his proximity to Akhilesh Yadav, "Too much water has flowed under the bridge. Shivpal Yadav has damaged the Samajwadi Party in the Lok Sabha elections by cutting into our votes and paving the way for BJP's victory. It will not be easy to forget all the bad blood that prevails between the two family members and their parties."
The mood is upbeat in the Samajwadi Party following its victory in three assembly seats in the recent assembly by-elections.
"We have proved that we are the main opposition party in UP and our victory has given clear indications that SP is firmly on the comeback path. Akhilesh is now working towards strengthening the party organizations and nothing will divert his attention from the job right now," the former minister added.
Sources close to the Yadav clan also admit that reconciliation at this stage would not be able to wipe off the mistrust between Akhilesh and Shivpal and their followers.
"The divide is too deep now. Netaji (Mulayam) made several attempts but could not bring the uncle and nephew together. Other family members like Prof Ram Gopal Yadav are also a party in the strife. Difference between Akhilesh and his sister-in-law Aparna has also widened. A political reunion seems difficult but we should try to bring the family together. After all, there have been cases when members in a family belong to different political parties but come together for family events," said a source close to the family.
The Shivpal camp, meanwhile, says that the PSPL president had made an unconditional offer in keeping with the wishes of Mulayam Singh Yadav.
"Shivpal has accorded respect to Mulayam's wishes and has agreed to Akhilesh as chief minister. It is up to Akhilesh to respond and respect his father's wishes. We are in no hurry and are working on our party organization," said a Shivpal aide.IANS