New Delhi: Ending a tenuous truce in the Samajwadi Party, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brother Shivpal Yadav has decided to float a secular front challenging the leadership of his nephew and former UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
“I am not being given any work, so we have decided to form Samajwadi Secular Morcha. I waited this long because I wanted the Samajwadi Party to stay united. I welcome anyone who is being sidelined in the party,” Shivpal said.
However, Shivpal, the MLA from Jaswantnagar, denied rumours of him joining forces with the BJP or any other political party. “I will continue to strengthen the organisation through the Samajwadi Secular Morcha. I will focus on bringing small political outfits together under one umbrella. My stand on sidelining of Neta Ji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) remains same. I have always respected Neta Ji and will always do, but people who are ignoring Neta ji should stop doing it.”
BJP Minister Om Prakash Rajbhar had also met Shivpal Yadav at his residence on Tuesday night, but both the leaders maintained that the meeting was personal and not political.
Shivpal has since been lying low, he was not present in the party national executive held in Lucknow last month. There have been attempts made by sections in the family to arrive at some permanent political settlement to the festering problem. Shivpal tried to reach out to the nephew by standing by the party in the Rajya Sabha polls held earlier this year. He’s also reportedly held a couple of meetings with Mulayam’s cousin and Akhilesh loyalist Ram Gopal Yadav.
The growing restlessness in the Shivpal camp is compounded by the fact that the once powerful chacha has been kept completely out of loop on party matters — especially as Akhilesh finalises grand alliance with the BSP and the Congress ahead of 2019 general elections.
The former CM and Mulayam’s son has dropped clear hints that he and not his wife Dimple would contest the next Lok Sabha elections from Kannauj in central UP. Out of the 7 party MPs in the Lok Sabha, 5 are from the SP’s first family. That includes the patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, nephew Dharmendra, Akshay, Tej Pratap and bahu Dimple Yadav.
The move to pitch Akhilesh is also being seen as an image makeover and a tactic to blunt allegations of SP being reduced to a ‘family enterprise’.
The collateral damage of this entire exercise could also be borne by Shivpal’s son Aditya and Shivpal himself if he was seeking a redemption of sorts by getting elected to Parliament and shifting base to Delhi.
Shivpal's son Aditya is currently chairman of the state cooperative federation and the remaining few among MSY’s nephews too have not entered the electoral fray. The upcoming Lok Sabha polls would have been an opportunity to do precisely that — a part of the rehabilitation package for uncle Shivpal.
Shivpal, waiting in the wings for almost a year now, seems to be getting anxious about his political future in the SP. In the last few months, he’s made multiple trips to Delhi on weekends and met his political aides and legal experts.