NEW DELHI: The trend was set immediately after Samajwadi party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav decided to rid the party and the government of his son Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, and cousin Ram Gopal Yadav. The hundreds and thousands who poured out on to the streets were all Akhilesh Yadav supporters with even the official party spokespersons tilting towards the young CM.

Akhilesh Yadav’s popularity is not on test within the SP, with most of the legislators openly with him in this crisis. The timing, however, could not have been worse for the SP with Mulayam Singh telling his loyalists a week ago that he would sack his son if he did not relent on candidates.

Sensing an opportunity Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Jayant Chaudhry of the Rashtriya Lok Dal and son of Ajit Singh are in touch with the young CM sparking speculation of a grand alliance between the three. Whether this will happen, and whether it will be seen as credible by the voters in the highly political state remains another issue altogether.

The BJP is clearly trying to push the developments towards Presidents rule so that it is in the drivers seat when elections are held in UP. Its Gorakhpur leader Yogi Adityanath was the first to go on record saying that the split amounted to a constitutional crisis, justifying Presidents rule in the state.

There are two steps that have to be crossed by the CM and his father if the crisis formalises into a split. Both will approach the Election Commission to claim the symbol. Usually the process of determining who has the larger support and hence should get the symbol, according to former EC Y.Quraishi takes at least three to four months that is not available at this point because of the forthcoming polls. The EC could thus, decide to freeze the SP symbol of the bicycle and allot an ad hoc symbol each to the two factions for the purpose of the Assembly elections.

The other step taken almost simultaneously will be for the CM to prove his majority on the floor of the House. This will have to be determined by UP Governor Ram Naik, a RSS volunteer and old BJP hand. The Governor could be convinced, or he could insist that the situation is too chaotic to continue under one or the other faction of the SP. In which case he can recommend the dissolution of the Assembly and Presidents rule on the ground of ensuring a smooth election. This will give the BJP full control of the state and the administrative machinery when UP goes to the polls.

Contrary to belief a weak Samajwadi party might have suited the BJP but a desecrated SP is not exactly what it was looking for. This will ensure that the Muslims, a sizeable vote share in the state, will move towards the Bahujan Samaj party where Mayawati has been assiduously wooing the vote without being split between the BSP and SP.

But before the political equations can be analysed, the technical issues will have to be sorted if Mulayam Singh does not agree to the leaders who have been meeting him in a steady row to revoke the suspension at this stage. The SP is devastated, with women crying on the streets, and the youth while shouting slogans in favour of the CM making it very clear that this decision by Netaji has “broken us.”

(Cover Photograph: UP Governor Ram Naik and Samawadi party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav)