Lucknow, Jan 16: In the popular Hindi short story Cycle ki Sawari (The Cycle Ride), author Pandit Sudarshan with good amount of wit and sarcasm, brings to forth the plight of a middle-aged man, who decides to learn cycling, one fine day.
The dream of the man, in the end of the narrative, gets broken like his bones after he meets with an accident, while learning the 'craft' of balancing his mind, body and heart on the dream 'machine'.
A similar situation is brewing in the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. As Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son and chief minister of the state are engaged in a tug-of-war to take over the reins of the 25-year-old party and its symbol-a bicycle-both father and son risk breaking their bones, literally.
The upcoming UP assembly elections -- scheduled to start from February 11-- is an elaborate affair. The state will go to elections in seven phases. The polling dates are February 11, February 15, February 19, February 23, February 27, March 4 and March 8, 2017.
It is like a big fat Indian wedding. Be it the scale, size or importance--assembly polls in the northern state is next only to the Lok Sabha polls. The stakes too are very high. The elections in the state are coming at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government in the Centre has just finished two-an-half-year term. The mandate in the UP polls will also decide if voters approve or not Modi's controversial demonetisation move to fight against black money and corruption.
Mayawati, the Bahujan Samaj Party chieftain, is desperately trying to break her political 'exile' and join the mainstream by winning as many seats as possible in the state Vidhan Sabha, consisting of 403 assembly seats.
The Congress, which is witnessing a pan-India downfall since its major debacle in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, is out of power for the last 27 years in the state. The rumour mill is abuzz with the news of a tie-up between Akhilesh-led faction of the SP and the Congress.
As parties are trying to woo voters in India's largest state, it is the family feud between father Mulayam and son Akhilesh that UPwallahs are closely watching. Why just voters, even all the rival parties of the SP are eagerly waiting the verdict from the Election Commission.
The EC on Friday reserved its order on allotting the SP's symbol-'cycle', which has been claimed by both Mulayam and Akhilesh.
In has been a while since the father and the son are involved in a bitter public battle to control the reins of the 25 years old political outfit. Political pundits say in all likelihood the SP is heading towards a split in the coming days.
While the BJP has called the entire pari'war' a well-thought out plan by Mulayam to make his son the de facto ruler of the SP, Mayawati lambasted the incumbent party for forgetting the 'real affairs' of the state and busy washing dirty 'family' linen in public.
Mulayam and Akhilesh on their parts have met several times and had closed-door meetings, but none resulted in anything. The television visuals give an impression that the 77-year-old patriarch is a worried man, but the young man always flashes a smile, that is bereft of any tension.
Probably, Akhilesh (43) is well-prepared for a split, or he knows, even if there is no separation, as he has the support of the majority of the party legislators, he is the future boss of the SP.
At this stage, everyone is guessing, even teams-Mulayam and Akhilesh-about the future of the party. Will the SP be chopped into two pieces, one each for Mulayam and Akhilesh? Or they remain together, like a good family in a Sooraj Barjatya film?
The split or the reunion is not how the future ride of the 'cycle' will be decided. It is in the upcoming polls, when voters get the chance to speak their minds by pressing button of Electronic Voting Machine. From a distance, currently it is a bumpy bicycle ride for the Sapa. It is an intense cycling competition between a father and a son, both of whom are huffing and puffing to reach the finishing line.
The counting of votes, to take place on March 11, will determine if election results proved to be an accident for both the father and son or a pleasant cycling ride towards the future.