DIVIDED WE STAND
The Samajwadi Party family warriors return to the ring
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.
BROTHERS IN ARMS Shivpal with Mulayam during the poll campaign