This time, it is a worse sort of split.
Last time, on September 13, Akhilesh had, first sacked the UP chief secretary Deepak Singhal, considered close to Shivpal, and then had stripped Shivpal of his entire ministerial portfolio (but had not sacked him).
Protesting this, in a late night drama, on September 15, Shivpal had resigned from both positions, as the SP’s UP state president and as UP's cabinet minister. Amar Singh was being relentlessly targeted by Akhilesh supporters for creating this havoc in the party.
Next day, on September 16, Mulayam had rejected Shivpal’s resignation. Led by Mulayam, the party patriarch, Akhilesh’s father and Shivpal’s brother, a deal sort of arrangement was brokered and it was announced from Akhilesh’s office that Shivpal and the controversial UP minister Gayatri Prajapati, close to Shivpal, would be reinstated and Shivpal would be given back his portfolios.
Now that today, on October 23, 45 days after September 13, Akhilesh has gone a step further and has sacked Shivpal Yadav from his ministerial berth, as well three others including Jaya Prada (Amar Singh confidante), vocally targeting Amar Singh this time, we can gauge the obvious fact that it was just a temporary arrangement last month which had came at the cost of humiliating Akhilesh’s self-respect. So there doesn’t arise any question of Shivpal’s resignation now. He has been shown the door in clear, unequivocal terms this time.
There was never a ‘peace’ deal. After Shivpal was reinstated, he did everything that he could to downsize Akhilesh’s stature – sacking/expelling people from the SP who were seen close to Akhilesh, replacing names who were seen as Akhilesh Yadav’s people from the party’s list of candidates for the upcoming UP assembly polls and successfully reengineering Quami Ekta Dal’s (QED) merger into the SP fold which was foiled by Akhilesh in June as the QED is seen a front for the dreaded gangster Mukhtar Ansari.
So, what Akhilesh has done today was waiting to happen.
Akhilesh, on his part, has said that he will not leave the SP and will purge everyone who is seen close to Amar Singh.
But a vertical split is the most likely outcome in these circumstances.
If Mulayam continues with the stand he had taken last month, Akhilesh will be forced to find his own separate way.
Can Mulayam replace Akhilesh as UP CM, as Shivpal supporters have been demanding, when elections are just three-four months away?
Is Mulayam still confident enough that it is he in whose name people vote for the SP?
If Mulayam favours his son this time, Shivpal Yadav is expected to cause a vertical split in the party.
And whatever has to happen will happen soon as the UP assembly polls are just around the corner where the SP, with a huge anti-incumbency, is pitted against two formidable foes, the BJP whom the first round of opinion polls have shown winning the state, and the BSP, a favourite of analysts this time to win the polls - with its Dalit-Muslim social engineering.