While Shivpal Yadav suspended another Akhilesh Yadav loyalist from the Samajwadi Party on Wednesday morning, his staffers were removing the nameplate from his official residence in Lucknow, and mini-trucks started moving out with items from his house on Kalidas Marg.
Unlike the major blowup last month, when Mulayam Singh Yadav had managed a patch up between his brother and son, Shivpal surrendering his official residence and vehicle suggests that the state chief of the party has ruled out working in his nephew's government. His being neighbours with Mulayam and Akhliesh on Kalidas Marg made the situation all the more dramatic.
Meanwhile, Akhilesh's visit to the Governor Ram Naik's residence, shortly after his uncle had fired his aide Pawan Pandey, triggered all sorts of speculation. His office said that the chief minister was only making a social call to exchange Diwali greetings.
These events, just a day after Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav declared that his family and his party stand united, suggest that while an uneasy calm is holding for the moment, tensions are rife inside the ruling Yadav clan.
Mulayam made these remarks at a press conference in Lucknow on Tuesday, where Akhilesh's absence was conspicuous. Mulayam said that Akhilesh would continue as chief minister, but he made no commitment about his son's role if the Samajwadi Party won the UP Assembly election, now just a few months away.
On Sunday, Akhilesh had fired four cabinet ministers including Shivpal, his uncle, from his cabinet. He had fired his father's brother last month as well, but then reinstated him after Mulayam intervened. This time, however, Mulayam said that it was up to Akhilesh to deal with his ministers.
Meanwhile, SP's rivals, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party, have declared the party unfit to govern and called for Akhilesh to resign.
Shivpal has also written to Akhilesh asking him to sack Pandey from his ministerial position over his clash with Ashu Malik, a lawmaker. Malik claims that Pandey slapped him on Monday. "Pawan Pandey has given me two slaps," he told ANI, earlier this week.
Malik also told ANI that he was questioned about a newspaper article in which Akhilesh was likened to Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor, who killed his elder brother and kept his father Shah Jahan in captivity until he died. Malik said that he made no such remark and that he had given notice to the newspaper.
Also on HuffPost India: