Fading SP patch-up adds spice to UP poll broth
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.
Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav have sparred for over a year.