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In the political circles of Uttar Pradesh, there’s a new buzz after a photo of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat went viral on social media, just ahead of the crucial elections in the politically crucial state.

Two days after Mulayam Singh Yadav’s son Akhilesh Yadav launched an attack on the BJP for “targeting” his aides with tax raids, the SP veteran met Bhagwat met on Monday at the wedding reception of Vice President Venkaiah Naidu’s granddaughter in Delhi.

As the photo tweeted by Union Minister Arjun Meghwal gained traction, the Congress was quick to respond. “Is the S in the ‘new SP’ meant to be Sanghawad,” the Uttar Pradesh Congress asked in its post in Hindi. This seems to have prompted a reply from the BJP which said a “picture says a lot”.

However, the SP was in no mood for speculations and slammed the Congress for its insinuations. “The Congress has put up a photo from an event where leaders of its ally NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) also sought Netaji’s (Mulayam Singh) blessing. What does the Congress have to say to this?” the Samajwadi Party replied on the Congress tweet.

Though there were several political dignitaries at the event, it was this picture which stirred a hornet’s nest in UP. As the ruling BJP pushes all stops to retain power, Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav has emerged as a key challenger, with both sides trading barbs regularly at political rallies.

Just two days before the Mulayam Singh-RSS meeting, Akhilesh Yadav’s aide and top Samajwadi leaders were raided by Income Tax officials, which prompted a sharp reaction from the former chief minister.

“I have said this time and again that as elections approach, all this starts happening. Abhi toh Income Tax department aaya hai, Enforcement Directorate aayega, CBI aayega (Right now, now the tax department has come… the Enforcement Directorate will come, CBI will come) but the cycle (the Samajwadi Party’s poll symbol) will not stop… we will continue at the same pace … the BJP will be wiped out of UP,” Akhilesh Yadav told reporters.

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