A gesture speaks a thousand words. There was a moment during the swearing in ceremony of Uttar Pradesh's next Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, when former Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav leaned in to whisper something in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ears - a moment perfectly captured by the press photographers present at the venue.
Former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav was seen standing right next to his father on the dais at Lucknow's Smriti Upvan complex, as Modi loosely held the seasoned politician's hands and leaned in closer to hear what he had to say. The body language seemed friendly to a casual observer, warm even, and speculations are now rife as to what Mulayam could have told the PM after the months-long bitter campaign by his party, in alliance with the Congress, against Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during the assembly elections.
Telegraph has a theory. Reportedly a BJP politician, who refused to be named, told the paper that he overheard Mulayam telling Modi to take care of his son Akhilesh. "Thoda Akhilesh ka khayal rakhiye," were the words uttered.
Mulayam's relation with his son was soured during the run-up to the assembly polls over a family dispute that involved his brother Shivpal Yadav. While many in the Opposition camp have alleged that the feud was staged to give Mulayam a way out, there were several days of drama that culminated in Akhilesh taking charge of the party.
On stage, as Mulayam gestured, Akhilesh walked up to Modi and shook his hand. Mulayam reportedly told Modi, according to Telegraph, "Inko sikhaiye" (teach him). During the campaign, both Akhilesh and Modi traded barbs, with the latter ridiculing him for "making a new friend" in Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, while the former countering with a jibe on actor Amitabh Bachchan endorsing "donkeys of Gujarat".
However, all that was forgotten during the 90-minute ceremony when Modi was seen patting Akhilesh on the shoulder as gesture of warmth.