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Akhilesh one step closer to 'grand alliance'

The coup by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav against father and Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav seems to have opened up new possibilities of alliances in Uttar Pradesh politics.

Though Mulayam has rejected SP’s emergency national convention called on Sunday and called another convention on Thursday, avid observers of UP politics claim that it is not going to have much impact as Akhilesh, having support of over 200 MLAs out of 224, has a firm grip on the party.

Sunday’s convention called by national convenor Ramgopal Yadav and attended by over 4,000 delegates, including some known to be close to Mulayam, placed Akhilesh at the helm of affairs by relegating Mulayam to the ceremonious position of ‘patron’, besides removing Shivpal Yadav and Amar Singh.

It took place following fast paced political developments over the last two days that first witnessed expulsion of Akhilesh and Ramgopal Yadav from the party followed by their reinstatement, then the sudden show of strength and open rebellion by Akhilesh that ended with his supporters forcibly occupying SP’s main office on Vikramaditya Marg and removing Shivpal’s nameplate.

Though Mulayam has threatened to hit back legally by declaring the Sunday convention “unconstitutional” and asking his confidant and brother Shivpal to take the matter to the Election Commission to stake claim to the Samajawadi Party election symbol, it may prove a dampener as Akhilesh enjoys support of the majority of MLAs.

SP sources close to Akhilesh say that the fresh developments are leading towards the formation of a grand secular alliance that may prove decisive in tilting the balance towards Akhilesh camp and help it emerge victorious in coming elections.

“As things stand now, from a distant possibility the grand alliance is becoming a reality now. It will wean away the Muslims from Mayawati without harming the OBC base of the SP and eventually bring a sizeable portion of Dalits and upper castes into its fold. Actually, one of the main reasons of the rebellion was Mulayam’s refusal to have an alliance with the Congress that Akhilesh wanted at any cost,” said a senior party source hinting that Shivpal’s camp was trying to strike a deal with the BJP.

If Akhilesh manages to keep the flock together and save the party from any further damage, he may manage to consolidate Muslims, OBCs and some portion of upper castes with the help of grander alliance that is likely to see participation of the Congress, Ajit Singh’s RLD and even JD(U) which though is not very powerful in UP but could help consolidate OBC votes, especially those of Kurmis.

Congress sources say that if the grand alliance emerges then the Congress will not have any problem in foregoing its stake on deputy chief ministership and striking a deal with SP and others for ticket distribution that is based on reality check.