LUCKNOW: Sulking socialist leader Shivpal Singh Yadav on Saturday started following Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and former deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma on Twitter, further fuelling speculation about strains in the Samajwadi Party-led opposition alliance.
According to sources, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav met party patriarch and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav in the national capital for two hours but what transpired between them was not known.
The meeting assumes significance in light of the Samajwadi Party chief's uncle Shivpal Yadav's bonhomie with the BJP.
The rift between Shivpal Yadav and his nephew Akhilesh Yadav has been widening ever since the former was not invited to a meeting of newly elected Samajwadi Party MLAs on March 26.
Shivpal Yadav had contested the recent Assembly polls on the Samajwadi Party symbol.
He skipped the Opposition alliance's meeting earlier this week and took oath on March 31.
He later went to the chief minister's residence here, fuelling speculation of his changing sides.
Now, Yadav following Modi, Adityanath and Dinesh Sharma is seen as yet another step of the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) chief in quitting the opposition alliance and crossing over to the BJP.
"There should be something new in the New Year.
On Saturday (the first day of the Hindu New Year), Shivpal Ji started following (on Twitter) Modi, Adityanath and Dinesh Sharma," Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) spokesperson Deepak Mishra told PTI on Saturday.
About many seeing it as a possibility of Yadav joining the saffron camp, Mishra said, "I don't deny the possibilities.
Options are always open in politics.
" He also said, "Shivpal Ji was already following Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
" "Today, he started following Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and former deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma.
" With the latest additions, Yadav now follows 12 Twitter handles, that include the Dalai Lama, the President of India, the Prime Minister's Office and the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister's Office.
Shivpal Yadav's crossover, if it actually happens, would not be out of the blue as Akhilesh Yadav has, on many occasions, accused his uncle of being in touch with Adityanath and being soft towards the BJP.
It is being speculated that the BJP might send Shivpal Yadav to the Rajya Sabha and give his Jaswantnagar Assembly seat to his son Aditya Yadav.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav had denied a ticket to Aditya Yadav in the February-March elections.
Eleven Rajya Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh would be falling vacant between April and July.
After being at loggerheads since 2017 and Shivpal Yadav launching his political outfit, the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia), in 2019, Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle decided to mend fences just before the recent Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.
On the eve of the state polls, the duo put up a united front, appearing together at the residence of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Mulayam Singh Yadav's daughter-in-law Aparna Yada had joined the BJP before the Assembly elections.
PTI NAV SNS NSD 04021933 NNNN