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Mulayam not ready to fade away just yet

Lucknow: The rumblings that continue in Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Yadav family even after a truce was enforced last week have the clear stamp of its supremo’s wrath. And it could be traced back to the inauguration of the Ala Hazrat Haj House by his son, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, in Ghaziabad on September 5. This was the day when differences in the ruling clan, simmering since the CM revoked the tie-up with Qaumi Ekta Dal, came to a head because of absence of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s pictures from the venue. Many of his supporters took it as an affront to ‘Netaji’. Mulayam’s loyalists had then openly expressed displeasure when they didn’t spot a single photograph of his on the dais or anywhere at the venue while there were life-size pictures of both Akhilesh and senior minister Azam Khan. Local MLC Ashu Malik, in fact, stunned everyone by openly questioning absence of pictures of the party chief, who had laid the foundation stone of the Haj House during his previous tenure in 2005. Malik had other reasons to be angry as well – the name of his brother, a local pradhan, had been struck off the invitees’ list by Azam – and he took a U-turn the next day, saying it was the local municipal corporation which had taken off the pictures a day before the event. People close to Mulayam, however, refused to see this as a trivial incident, with some of them sharing their feelings with the party boss. “He has been a a doting and indulgent father, he was not ready to play Shah Jahan. Not yet,” said a source close to Netaji in the current power struggle, the reference being to the Mughal emperor who was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb. Twelve days on, when hundreds of ‘Akhileshwadis’ protested in front of his house in an unprecedented manner, vociferously expressing their allegiance to the young  CM, the patriarch’s anger turned into a rage. Mulayam actually lost his top when members of the party’s Yuva Vahini and Chhatra Sabha broke the barricades put up before his 5, Vikramaditya Marg House in Lucknow and reached up to its heavily guarded entrance. The veteran leader was for the first time at the receiving end of a protest by his own partymen and decided to punish those responsible for the transgression.
Mulayam was not impressed by the reverence that Arvind Yadav, Anand Bhadauria and Sanjay Lathar, and state chiefs of the four youth wings of the party, professed for him even as they challenged his decision to replace Akhilesh as state party chief with brother Shivpal Yadav. While it was newly appointed state chief Shivpal who signed the expulsion letters of the eight youth leaders — all close to Akhilesh — it couldn’t have come without the consent of the party boss as four of them are legislators. In fact, while speaking to TOI, Shivpal hinted that he was just following orders.
A day later, the way Mulayam hurriedly scribbled the note to appoint his former Man Friday Amar Singh as general secretary – another blow to the Akhilesh brigade – without even bothering the office typist, one could literally see the 76-year-old seething with anger to teach the ‘family brats’ a lesson in realpolitik. It was also his way  of emphatically saying “I am the boss.”

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