The convulsions besetting the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh should serve as an education to voters as to what can happen when persolity-based politics and dystic succession is carried to excess. When the SP registered a handsome win in the UP assembly elections in 2012, few could have predicted that the party would be staring at a vertical split with just a few months to go to the next elections in 2017. ‘Netaji’ Mulayam Singh Yadav had then taken upon himself the larger tiol mantle to spearhead his party’s presence in parliament, meanwhile anointing son Akhilesh in Lucknow as chief minister. It was all very hunky-dory within the family, but things began to unravel as Akhilesh tried to assert himself as CM, apparently fed up with senior ministers bypassing him to take the seal of approval from his uncle and father. The persisting thuggish image of Samajwadi Party too seems to have exasperated the young CM no end. Seeking to build upon the backward castes-Muslim votebank with a freebie culture and progressive image for 2017 polls, Akhilesh Yadav has now appears determined to be his own man by sacking uncle Shivpal Yadav twice from his cabinet, along with his loyalists. Shivpal has hit right back by getting ‘Netaji’ to expel from the party cousin and rajya Sabha MP Ram Gopal Yadav who has openly sided with Akhilesh. The picture has gotten murkier by the fact that while Akhilesh is Mulayam’s son from his deceased first wife, his second wife too is said to harbor political ambitions. And in this emerging lobby are Shivpal and Amar Singh, recently brought back to the SP fold. The showdown has become uglier with MLC and diehard Akhilesh friend Udayveer Singh expelled for accusing Mulayam’s second wife of ‘hatching a conspiracy’ against the CM. If Mulayam Yadav fails to exert control and filly casts his lot with his brother and second wife, Akhilesh may well go his own way and split the party. The sordid drama serves as an object lesson to political parties that allow their vision, ideals and agenda to be hijacked by an overweening leader with dysty in tow.