Fad­ing SP patch-up adds spice to UP poll broth

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - NATION MYINDIAMYVOTE -

LUC­KNOW: The split in the Sa­ma­jwadi Party (SP) seems fi­nal. De­spite Mu­layam Singh Ya­dav’s po­lit­i­cal am­biva­lence, a ma­jor­ity now be­lieve that a patch-up is im­pos­si­ble be­tween the war­ring fac­tions in the SP.

A se­nior party leader said, “The tus­sle started over the is­sue of party lead­er­ship that Mu­layam had set­tled in his son’s favour in 2012 though his brother (Shiv­pal Ya­dav), too, was a claimant. Much wa­ter has flowed down the Gomti since then. How can there be any patch-up now?”

Ap­par­ently, Mu­layam tried to avert a split, but even­tu­ally failed. It was soon af­ter the SP lost power in Ut­tar Pradesh in 2017 that Shiv­pal re­vealed his plans to form a mor­cha from which Mu­layam had dis­tanced him­self. Ef­forts to heal the rift came to naught.

“How can there be a re­union when there are out­siders ac­tive in the fam­ily?” said a source.

Al­though Mu­layam ap­pears to be torn be­tween his son and brother, many be­lieve he will re­main stead­fast with the Sa­ma­jwadi Party, which he had formed in November 1992.

There are some in­di­ca­tors to his flip-flop. Re­cently, when Mu­layam vis­ited his brother’s Pra­gatisheel Sa­ma­jwadi Party’s newly al­lot­ted of­fice, much to the con­ster­na­tion of the party work­ers, he ex­horted them to strengthen the Sa­ma­jwadi Party. When Shiv­pal pointed out his ap­par­ent faux pas, he re­mained eva­sive.

There­after, he drove down to the SP of­fice and in­ter­acted with the party work­ers there.

Two days later, Mu­layam flew to New Delhi with Akhilesh Ya­dav for a meet­ing with Andhra Pradesh chief min­is­ter N Chan­drababu Naidu, who is at the fore­front of ef­forts to stitch to­gether the Grand Al­liance against the rul­ing Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance (NDA). The fa­ther-son duo re­turned to­gether the next day.

Al­though some as­so­ciates of Shiv­pal main­tain “it’s noth­ing but pu­tra moh (love for his son)”, se­nior ob­servers in the party in­sist, “It’s the party, noth­ing else.”how­ever, SP foun­der­mem­ber Beni Prasad Verma said, “If ever he has to choose be­tween his son and his brother, he will go with the for­mer.”

For now, ev­ery­one seems to be ask­ing, “Can a canny politi­cian like Mu­layam be obliv­i­ous to the dam­age that he is caus­ing to the party that he had raised with his blood and sweat?”

They re­call how the same Mu­layam, dur­ing his days of struggle, gave prece­dence to pol­i­tics over his per­sonal life, so much so he had lit­tle time for his grow­ing son Akhilesh.

Al­la­habad-based so­cial­ist leader Vinod Chand Dubey says, “When a per­son is touch­ing the 80s, he goes on a pari­var or bhakti dar­shan (fam­ily and pil­grim­age). How­ever, Mu­layam will not cause any dam­age to the party.”none­the­less, the other con­sen­sus in the Sa­ma­jwadi Pari­var is that a split in SP, will be ad­van­ta­geous for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Af­ter all, the SP is one of the two re­gional forces that have dom­i­nated the state’s pol­i­tics since the early 1990s. It is also likely that Shiv­pal will dent the SP but the ex­tent will de­pend on the plans that he will un­fold in the days to come. “It’s elec­tion time and the cadre is con­fused,” said Dubey.

Not a good sign, es­pe­cially when the SP is pit­ted against a ro­bust Bharatiya Janata Party which, while strength­en­ing its own roots in the state, is out to break vote banks that it can’t win over—namely the Jatavs (SC) and Ya­davs (OBCS). Iron­i­cally, it was Mu­layam Singh who be­lieved in keeping the party ma­chin­ery well oiled, but now his party seems to be in dol­drums.

Till the vir­tual split, the Sa­ma­jwadi Pari­var was con­fi­dent that the party will re­main in­tact as along as Mu­layam was around de­spite tremors shak­ing its foun­da­tion.their con­fi­dence stemmed from the fact that Mu­layam has been a uni­fy­ing force, both for the SP that he formed, as well as the large fam­ily that he pro­moted in pol­i­tics. How­ever, this trust was shaken when Shiv­pal, whom he had lit­er­ally raised in pol­i­tics, broke away from the SP and floated the Pra­gatisheel Sa­ma­jwadi Party (Lo­hia).as of now, Shiv­pal is try­ing to muster Mu­layam’s and other fam­ily mem­bers’ sup­port . Mu­layam’s sec­ond daugh­ter-in­law Aparna Ya­dav has openly come out in his sup­port. Aparna is mar­ried to Pra­teek Ya­dav, Akhilesh Ya­dav’s step­brother. She had come into the lime­light a few years ago af­ter she pub­licly praised Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi.

Most of the other young mem­bers of the Ya­dav fam­ily are keeping a low pro­file.

Then, there is the ques­tion of the al­liance with the Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party (BSP). Mayawati will join hands with the SP, though some con­jec­tures are be­ing drawn about her al­liance with Shiv­pal’s Pra­gatisheel Sa­ma­jwadi Party, if the BJP arm-twists her.

HT

Akhilesh Ya­dav and Shiv­pal Ya­dav have sparred for over a year.

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