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4-min read

Analysing ‘Shivpal Factor’ and How it Can Hurt SP-BSP, Help BJP in 15 Uttar Pradesh Seats

Election this time in Firozabad and nearby constituencies in the region often described as 'Yadav Land' is about relations gone sour between the Chacha and Bhatija - Shivpal Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party.

Pranshu Mishra | CNN-News18

Updated:April 11, 2019, 7:25 AM IST
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Analysing ‘Shivpal Factor’ and How it Can Hurt SP-BSP, Help BJP in 15 Uttar Pradesh Seats
File photo of Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Singh Yadav. (Photo: PTI)

Firozabad: 'Sheesha ho ya dil ho toot jata hai' - these famous lines from a Bollywood song so aptly describe the present political realities in the glass city of Firozabad, some 300 km from Delhi.

While breaking of delicate glass is routine of life across the countless manufacturing units in the city, election this time in Firozabad and nearby constituencies in the region often described as 'Yadav Land' is about relations gone sour between the Chacha and Bhatija - Shivpal Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party.

While Shivpal Yadav is busy campaigning day and night to defeat his nephew and sitting MP Akshay Yadav, in several other seats like Etah, Etawah, Sambhal, Badaun, his Pragtisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohiya) is clearly aiming to ensure defeat for the SP-BSP alliance by eating into SP's core OBC vote base.

News18 caught up with Shivpal Yadav on one of his campaign trail in the constituency for an exclusive chat. While analysts have time and again said his party would aid the BJP in the election, he has remained mum on such suggestion. Until now.

He said, “If the BJP gains out of our politics and contesting election, what can we do? Our aim is to defeat the SP-BSP alliance which is nothing else but a Thag-Bandhan.”

Adding further strength to political buzz about a tactical understanding between the BJP and Pragtisheel Samajwadi Party (PSP), Shivpal said, “I have my options open, as far as working with BJP in a post-poll scenario is concerned.”

In the constituency where percentage of OBC Yadav voters dominate the demographic profile, Shivpal Yadav in meeting after meetings across villages tells voters, “I have been insulted in Samajwadi party. What's the brother or nephew for me now'. He is trying to mobilise the Yadav voters by highlighting the “injustice” done to him.

In Firozabad, Yadav/Ahir's form around 21 per cent of the population, followed by Dalit Chamars at around 12 per cent and Muslims at around 10 per cent. Other prominent OBC communities in the constituency are the Maurya/Kushwaha at around 7.5 per cent.

On the ground, the general sense is that the fight is primarily between Akshay, the son of Ram Gopal Yadav, and Shivpal. BJP has fielded a Thakur, Dr Chandrasen Jadon, from here.

In Jasrana town, while waiting for Akshay Yadav to arrive, locals including some scribes suggest that BJP has intentionally fielded an upper caste candidate, who is just an old time 'Karyakarta', in order to make things easy for Shivpal.

The possibility can't be ruled out, with Shivpal himself going soft against the BJP. The chances of a saffron party win here are anyway slim as it didn't win here even when the Modi wave was at its strongest in 2014. For BJP, a win for Shivpal is also a win-win situation in a post-poll scenario if it falls short on numbers.

It is hopeful that the 'Shivpal Factor' will work in its favour on many other crucial seats where Yadav Voters are in large numbers and Shivpal has a personal base.

Akshay Yadav has also not backed down from making the fight against his uncle personal. Talking to News18, he said, “Our fight is against the BJP and uncle is of course trying to assist the BJP”.

Akshay further added. “Efforts to divide SP's vote base will not succeed. People know for whom uncle is actually working. SP-BSP alliance will the seat”.

Apart from Firozabad, the ‘Shivpal Factor’ can also work in nearby seats of Etawah and Etah. In reserved constituency of Etawah, Shivpal Yadav continuously campaigned for his party candidate Shambhu Dayal Dohre. Etawah has around 11 per cent Yadav voters.

In 2014, BJP had won the seat with around 42 per cent votes. SP and BSP voter share if put together was around 49 per cent. If Shivpal is successful in making a strong dent in alliance’s vote share, then BJP clearly stands to gain.

Similarly in neighbouring Etah, PSP's Dr Rashmi Yadav is being seen more as dummy candidate for BJP. In 2014, BJP had got 51.28 per cent votes here. SP and BSP put together were around 44 percent. Now with no strong Modi wave and faced with strong caste alliance, BJP has pinned its hope on the PSP candidate’s ability to divide the alliance vote.

In Badaun, Shivpal's party is working on the ground campaigning against the SP's Dharmendra Yadav.

In Mainpuri, Shivpal has declared he will not contest against his brother and SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. It's only here in Mainpuri where Shivpal is actually assisting the SP and the family feud has been pushed aside.

His party is, however, contesting in Kannauj against SP chief Akhilesh Yadav's wife Dimple. She is also the sitting MP from here. In 2014, Dimple had won by a slender margin against the BJP. SP had got 43.89 per cent votes, while BJP got 42.11 per cent.

In all, from west to east there are around 15 such seats where Yadav voters are above 10 percent of the electorate. Apart from the seats mentioned above, other such seats are Aonla, Phulpur, Machlishahar, Gazipur, Chandauli, Bhadohi and Azamgarh. From Azamgarh in east UP, Akhilesh Yadav is the alliance candidate.

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