Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav could find himself in a dilemma of choosing between son Akhilesh and brother Shivpal, both of whom will be celebrating his 80th birthday separately on Thursday and seek his "blessings" ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
The uncle and nephew parted ways in 2016 after Akhilesh removed Shivpal as the SP's state president and last year, a national convention nominated the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister as party head replacing Mulayam.
Shivpal Yadav's Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia (PSPL) has planned statewide celebrations, including events at the party's office at 6, Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg, here and Saifai, the native place of the Yadav clan, in Etawah.
The Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP), which has also planned to celebrate Mulayam's birthday across the state, will have an event at its office in the Uttar Pradesh capital.
The PSPL has decided to celebrate his birthday as "Dharm Nirpekshta Diwas" and organise a 'dangal' (wrestling event) in Saifai as Mulayam was a wrestler once and known for his skills in the ring.
"We will be celebrating the day as Dharm Nirpekshta Diwas (secularism day) as 'netaji' (as Mulayam is fondly called) is the one who stood against communal forces with full force.
"The objective of the day will be to strengthen social amity and ideology of secularism," Shivpal's son and PSPL general secretary Aditya Yadav said.
District presidents of the party have been asked to reach out to the poor on this day and pray for the long life of 'netaji', he said.
Besides programmes like blood donation, seminars and cultural programmes to propagate the message of humanity, a 'dangal' will be held in Saifai, the PSPL leader said.
The Samajwadi Party is not far behind as it has also announced state-wide celebrations like those of previous years and asked its district officials and workers to organise events.
"The SP has asked its district and city cadre to celebrate Mulayam Singh Yadav's birthday. We have been organising his birthday earlier also. He is not only our party's founder but also a samajwadi icon," SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said.
Though Mulayam tried to balance his relations with son and brother Shivpal, both factions have repeatedly claimed that his "blessings" were by their side.
Recently, Mulayam left everyone surprised when he reached Shivpal's PSPL office here during its opening, but later drove down to the SP office and addressed party workers, asking them to "ensure the SP's success in the 2019 (Lok Sabha) polls".
Shivpal has announced that the PSPL will contest on all Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, except Mainpuri from where Mulayam is likely to contest.
Last year, Mulayam had said his son and the SP's national president Akhilesh is "a good boy and was a good chief minister".
"He is my son first, leader later. My blessings are with him before, now, and (will remain) ever after," Mulayam Singh Yadav had said, giving a clear message on his 79th birthday last year.
While the next move of Mulayam is not known and both SP and PSPL workers are confused as to who he will be standing with in the Lok Sabha polls, barely a few months away.
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