Will field Mulayam as LS candidate of my outfit: Shivpal
Rebel Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Shivpal Yadav on Saturday said he will field his elder brother and SP Patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav as the candidate of his Samajwadi Secular Morcha (SSM) for the Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat in the 2019 elections.
Shivpal’s announcement comes against the backdrop of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav hinting on several occasions that Mulayam would contest the upcoming general elections on an SP ticket. Shivpal and Akhilesh have been engaged in a bitter family feud for over two years now. “If netaji (Mulayam) agrees, then he will be made the national president of the morcha,” Shivpal said.
Shivpal, who floated the SSM last month, said the proposed alliance between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha polls should include his outfit too.
“The morcha can win 20 to 30 seats in the Lok Sabha polls. If the (SP-BSP) alliance does not include the morcha, it (morcha) will contest on all 80 seats in UP,” Shivpal said to media at his Lucknow house.
Shivpal also said he will soon apply to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to register a new party, its name, flag, and seek an election symbol.
Shivpal Singh Yadav, younger brother of Samajwadi Party (SP) patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, had been sulking for about two years. Earlier this month, as the nation edged closer to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he decided to virtually split the party, which his brother formed in 1992 and placed at the centrestage of politics in Uttar Pradesh, by announcing the formation of a platform he intends to use to bring like-minded political groups together.
Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is seen by observers to have extended tacit support to Shivpal , 63, the estranged uncle of Mualayam Singh’s son and former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. Shivpal’s formation of the Samajwadi Secular Morcha is opportune for the BJP, which has been trying to forge caste-based tie-ups ahead of the general election to counter a grand alliance of opposition parties, notably the SP and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
The party’s Uttar Pradesh leaders, headed by chief minister Yogi Adityanath, are playing up the family feud, attacking SP chief, Akhilesh Yadav, 45, whose elevation to the party’s presidency in 2017 had triggered a generational shift in the SP. He poses a bigger challenge to the BJP than Shivpal does.
Logically speaking, the virtual split in the SP weakens Akhilesh and his claim on seats during seat-sharing talks with potential poll partners. The BJP is all smiles; even a slight dent in the Yadav vote bank can turn the tables on the SP in Yadav-dominated constituencies. How?
Completely marginalised in the BJP dispensation, the Yadavs, along with the Jatavs (BSP chief Mayawati’s committed voters) have been gearing up to avenge their humiliation in the 2019 general elections.
Although there has been no love lost between the Jatavs and Yadavs since a mid-1990s political brawl, fear of getting marginalised in the state’s politics by a resurgent BJP has compelled the two communities to come together. The success of their experiment in the Gorakhpur, Kairana and Phulpur Lok Sabha bypolls boosted their confidence.
Shivpal can play spoilsport in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh, expected to be closely contested, in which every vote will have a huge value. It would be advantage BJP.
According to a political expert, the BJP’s strategy is clear: if it cannot win over the Yadavs, it can break them (read vote bank). And if it cannot win over Mayawati, it can wean away her voters by offering them sops.
At the end of the day, it is caste that clinches seats in UP.
Both in the 2014 Lok Sabha and the 2017 Vidhan Sabha elections, the BJP was riding an unprecedented wave in favour of Narendra Modi. Yet, the party high command had to sew up electoral alliances, especially in backward caste dominated eastern UP which, barring a few districts like Azamgarh, Mau and Varanasi, has a smaller Muslim population than western UP. Thus caste and not communal polarisation decides poll outcomes.