The father-son duo was at the party's State headquarters through the first half of the day, meeting party activists. Mr. Singh was in a relaxed mood, but he told party workers to pay attention to the counting process.
The chrome and glass offices on the fifth floor of Lucknow's Lal Bahadur Shastri Bhavan — referred to, with awe, as Pancham Tal — from where Chief Minister Mayawati ruled Uttar Pradesh for five years wore a deserted look on Monday, 24 hours before the Assembly election results were due.
Chief Secretary Anup Mishra, who was scheduled to hold preparatory discussions on the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), postponed the meeting, official sources said, as the Centre, too, has pushed back its March 9 discussions on the contentious issue with the State governments to March 12.
Even as the pink polythene sheets came off statues of Ms. Mayawati and elephants in the Dalit Parks in Lucknow and Noida, the Chief Minister stayed at home, far from the public eye, in her high-walled official residence on Kalidas Marg, meeting only a couple of key officials. She held her last Cabinet meeting on Sunday night, at which she got a proposal recommending the dissolution of the 15th Assembly passed.
This was after Ms. Mayawati reviewed the Bahujan Samaj Party's performance in the elections. Sources said she told her party candidates that all newly elected MLAs should be back in the State capital by March 7. Top officials, the sources said, steeled themselves to the possibility of “enquiries” by the successor government, in case of a change in regime.
Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar, in any case, is due to retire in May.
On Mall Avenue, meanwhile, there was a flurry of activity at the palatial “official” bungalow that Ms. Mayawati will occupy as former Chief Minister, in case she loses these elections. The spanking new road leading to it was crawling with police operatives on Monday.
With all exit polls predicting victory for the Samajwadi Party (SP), the mood was upbeat in the party camp. Not just that day, senior officials — the first to smell a change in regime — were already in touch with SP chief Mulayam Singh and his son Akhilesh. The father-son duo was at the party's State headquarters through the first half of the day, meeting party activists. Mr. Singh was in a relaxed mood, but he told party workers to pay attention to the counting process.
Later in the day, the two men retired to Mr. Singh's residence on Vikramaditya Marg — which he occupies in his capacity as former Chief Minister. While there were huge crowds outside — including a scrum of TV units — party sources said Mr. Akhilesh finally got to spend time indoors with his wife and children, of whom he has not seen much through what has been an arduous period of campaigning.