Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia chief Shivpal Singh Yadav's recent meeting with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has triggered speculation he may quit the Samajwadi Party-led alliance to cross over to the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The speculation gained strength after the sulking socialist leader Shivpal Yadav recently met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath amid reports of strains in the SP-led alliance.
A key leader of the opposition alliance Om Prakash Rajbhar, however, sought to downplay the issue saying there are 'some issues' within their family and he was making all efforts to ensure that they remain together.
Reports suggested that the distance between Shivpal Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav has been widening ever since the former was not invited to the meeting of newly elected SP MLAs on March 26.
PSPL chief Shivpal Yadav had contested the recent state polls on the bicycle symbol of the SP.
He had skipped the opposition alliance's Monday meeting called by Akhilesh Yadav and also 'delayed' taking oath as a member of the new assembly, indicating that all is not well between the uncle-nephew duo.
Besides Shivpal Yadav, the alliance's other key leader Pallavi Patel of Apna Dal-Kamerwadi, who had humbled Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya from Sirathu seat, had also not attended the meeting of the SP-led coalition partners on March 28.
Shivpal Yadav took oath on Wednesday in the chamber of Speaker Satish Mahana and later went to 5, Kalidas Marg residence of the CM to meet Adityanath, fuelling speculation of his changing sides.
The crossover, if materializes, would not surprise many as on many occasions, Akhilesh Yadav himself has accused his uncle of being in touch with Adityanath and soft towards the saffron party.
Talks are doing the rounds in the political circles that as part of the plan, the BJP might send Shivpal Yadav to Rajya Sabha and give his Jaswantnagar seat to his son Aditya Yadav.
Akhilesh Yadav had denied a ticket to Aditya Yadav in the February-March elections.
Eleven Rajya Sabha seats would be falling vacant from UP between April and July.
Shivpal Yadav himself has not been speaking much.
On Wednesday he had told the media persons that he would tell everything at the right time.
But, Rajbhar is still optimistic that things would be sorted out and the speculation of Shivpal Yadav saying goodbye to them would prove wrong.
Rajbhar, who heads Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party, a constituent of the opposition grouping in UP, on Thursday said he was making all-out efforts to remove differences in the family.
"It is a matter of the family, how much can we do in the tiff within the family? But it has been my effort that all should remain together and work together," Rajbhar told PTI.
"I will talk to both Shivpal ji and Akhilesh ji," he said adding, "My effort is to placate Shivpal ji, we can only make efforts in this regard. I have also talked to Akhilesh ji and he has also agreed that I should talk to Shivpal Singh today itself."
Rajbhar said, "Shivpal Singh had given me time last evening but I had to rush to Ballia and I also told him about the same. I will meet him in return."
On the absence of Pallavi Patel in the meeting of the allies, Rajbhar said, "Pallavi Patel could not attend the meeting of allies because of some personal work. She had come in the morning and met Akhilesh ji. All the parties had sent their representatives including Apna Dal-K."
Though PSPL spokesperson Deepak Mishra termed the meeting a courtesy one, it set in motion speculation about Shivpal Singh's future move.
"Since he (Shivpal Yadav) could not meet the Leader of the House after elections, he met him today after taking the oath. He also met the Speaker of the UP Legislative Assembly," Mishra had said.
After remaining at loggerheads since 2017, Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav had decided to mend fences just before the recent state assembly elections.
Their estrangement had resulted in Shivpal Yadav launching his own party before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
In the just-concluded assembly polls, the uncle-nephew had put up a united front appearing together at the residence of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav on election eve.
Shivpal himself won from his traditional Jaswantnagar seat for the sixth time.