DI­VIDED WE STAND

The Sa­ma­jwadi Party fam­ily war­riors re­turn to the ring

India Today - - INSIDE - By Ashish Misra

Trou­ble again in the SP as Shiv­pal Yadav an­nounces his own party

SHIV­PAL ALSO CLAIMED THAT THE NEW OUT­FIT WILL BE HEADED BY MULAYAM

Ad­dress­ing a rally in his home con­stituency Jaswant­na­gar on Jan­uary 31, Sa­ma­jwadi Party pa­tron and Mulayam Singh Yadav’s younger brother Shiv­pal Yadav had promised to float a new party af­ter the poll results on March 11. Al­though it seemed like the plan had been shelved fol­low­ing the party’s assem­bly poll rout, there are now new signs of trou­ble in the Sa­ma­jwadi camp.

On May 5, Shiv­pal claimed his elder brother’s bless­ings while an­nounc­ing that he plans to float a new po­lit­i­cal party, the Sa­ma­jwadi Sec­u­lar Morcha.

Ev­i­dently bait­ing es­tranged nephew and

SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, Shiv­pal also said that he would re­main with the SP while work­ing to es­tab­lish the Morcha. He also claimed that the new out­fit would be headed by Mulayam.

So it seems the very pub­lic feud within the Mulayam Singh clan is far from over. Two days af­ter the Morcha was an­nounced, Akhilesh re­tal­i­ated by ex­pelling five party lead­ers known to be close to Shiv­pal. They in­cluded loy­al­ists like Deepak Misra and Mo­ham­mad Shahid, who were ap­pointed spokesper­sons when Shiv­pal briefly re­placed his nephew as SP pres­i­dent prior to the assem­bly polls.

THE SA­MA­JWADI SEC­U­LAR MORCHA COULD NIX ANY COME­BACK PLANS AKHILESH MAY HAVE

Akhilesh is clearly un­der pres­sure from par­ty­men close to him to oust Shiv­pal af­ter his an­nounce­ment. “We will not tol­er­ate any­one who is in­volved in anti-party ac­tiv­i­ties,” the for­mer CM de­clared in Luc­know. That said, po­lit­i­cally he is not in the strong­est of po­si­tions in the wake of the huge em­bar­rass­ment of the assem­bly results. While un­cle Shiv­pal won Jaswant­na­gar with rel­a­tive ease and a mar­gin of over 50,000 votes, un­der Akhilesh’s ste­ward­ship, the SP won a mere 47 seats.

In fact, Shiv­pal and his sup­port­ers be­gan tar­get­ing Akhilesh al­most im­me­di­ately af­ter the results on March 11. “It’s not the SP’s de­feat; it is a de­feat of the ego,” Shiv­pal had said, lay­ing the blame squarely on his nephew. He has also been re­mind­ing Akhilesh of his prom­ise to step down as the party’s na­tional pres­i­dent af­ter the polls. Shiv­pal and his men want the charge handed back to Mulayam, who ap­pears to be with his younger brother on this. Ad­dress­ing a pri­vate gath­er­ing at Main­puri on April 1, the fa­ther blamed his son: “Mera itna ap­maan kabhi nahin hua hai. Mu­jhe doos­ron ne nahin balki ap­non ne hi neecha dikhane ki koshish ki hai. Isi karan se party ki itni buri haar hui hai (I’ve been hu­mil­i­ated and made to feel small by my own peo­ple. That is why the party lost so badly),” an an­guished Mulayam de­clared.

If Shiv­pal’s Sa­ma­jwadi Sec­u­lar Morcha be­comes a real­ity, it could fur­ther shrink Akhilesh’s prospects of mak­ing a come­back any­time soon. Not in the state’s civic polls three months from now, and per­haps not even in the 2019 Lok Sabha elec­tions.

Cover by NILANJAN DAS

MANEESH AGNIHOTRI

BROTH­ERS IN ARMS Shiv­pal with Mulayam dur­ing the poll cam­paign

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