Akhilesh or Shivpal, who has Mulayam's backing? 

Shivpal Yadav has not quit the SP but formed the morcha following differences with Akhilesh Yadav. He said the morcha will contest the 2019 Lok Sabha election. PTI FIle Photo

For his hardcore loyalists, it's a Hobson's choice for Samajwadi Party (SP) patron Mulayam Singh Yadav. Political analysts, however, feel that it is in fact 'Sophie's choice' (the title of a 1979 novel by William Styron, about a Polish woman in a Nazi concentration camp, who is forced to decide which of her two children will live and which will die). 

The question haunts both SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav, Mulayam's son and rebel SP leader Shivpal Singh, his younger brother as well as their supporters.

Barely a few days back Mulayam shared stage with Akhilesh prompting the latter's supporters that 'Netaji' (Mulayam is addressed as such by his supporters) was with his son.

Their joy was however short-lived as the very next day Mulayam was seen sharing stage with Shivpal, who has formed a separate outfit and has vowed to put up his candidates on all the seats in the next Lok Sabha polls in 2019.

Mulayam went as far as to suggest that one should oppose one's own brother if one feels that justice has not been done with him virtually advising Shivpal to oppose him also if he thinks that he (Mulayam) has not given him a fair deal.

Mulayam's ambiguous stand in the ongoing feud between Akhilesh and Shivpal has left not only their supporters confused but also the rival BJP, which has been wooing Shivpal to make dent into the SP vote bank and counter a possible grand alliance in UP.

Old leaders in the SP say that it may be part of a strategy by Mulayam to broker a truce between the two warring members of the family. ''Mulayam still remains the bridge between Shivpal and Akhilesh....he does not want BJP to take advantage of the family feud,'' said a senior SP leader while speaking to Deccan Herald here.

Though both Akhilesh and Shivpal claim that they have Mulayam's backing, a deft politician that Mulayam is, only he knows who is he backing.

Read AlsoNo question of alliance with BJP: Shivpal

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Akhilesh or Shivpal, who has Mulayam's backing? 

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