The cracks, which were carefully papered over the past few months, were thrown wide open on Holi. The warring factions within the Yadav clan gave clear indications of their future in Etawah on Monday when Samajwadi president Akhilesh Yadav and his estranged uncle Shivpal Yadav held separate Holi functions. Shivpal leads the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party Lohia (PSPL).
This was the first time when two functions were hosted by the Yadav family in their native village Saifai.
Akhilesh Yadav, along with uncle Prof. Ram Gopal Yadav, cousins Dharmendra Yadav, Tej Pratap Yadav, Anshul Yadav, and Kartikeya Yadav and other family members, played Holi with flowers while Shivpal played with colours with his son Aditya Yadav and supporters at the Sughar Singh Memorial School compound.
When asked about Shivpal's absence from his function, Akhilesh said, "He must be playing Holi elsewhere." However, unlike previous years, Akhilesh and his uncle Prof. Ram Gopal Yadav did not make the customary speeches.
Surprisingly, the party patriarch, Mulayam Singh Yadav, stayed away from Holi celebration at his native village.
Mulayam, as a rule, has never missed Holi celebrations in Saifai and though sources said that the veteran leader could not come as he was unwell, family sources said that he was 'fed up' with the unwillingness of his son and brother to patch up differences.
"Netaji (Mulayam) is upset because the patch up is nowhere in sight even when elections are around the corner," he said.
Akhilesh and Shivpal have been putting up a facade of unity since the past few months with Akhilesh agreeing to leave the Jaswantnagar seat for his estranged uncle.
However, Akhilesh has refused to talk about an alliance of any further adjustment with his uncle's PSPL.
The PSPL, on the other hand, has been in talks with other smaller parties like Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party and AIMIM for a larger alliance in next year's Assembly elections.
Both, SP and PSPL, are contesting the Panchayat elections separately which is bound to divide their traditional vote base.
The development has left party cadres of both parties rather upset.
"The 2022 Assembly elections are extremely crucial and if SP and PSPL do not patch up, both will suffer. A division of votes -- Yadavs and Muslims -- is something we cannot afford at this stage if we are serious about returning to power," said a SP MLA, on condition of anonymity.
A PSPL leader, on the other hand, said, "Shivpal Yadav has always held out the olive branch but it is Akhilesh who refuses to relent. Efforts made by Mulayam Singh Yadav have also proved futile. We can only hope that things change before elections."