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Why Shivpal Yadav, the Once Powerful Chacha of Akhilesh, is Running Out of Options

The last bout between the uncle and the nephew was fought two years back when Akhilesh removed chacha Shivpal as the state president of the party and a hurriedly called national convention nominated the former UP CM as SP chief replacing Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Sumit Pande | News18.com

Updated:August 29, 2018, 11:51 AM IST
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Why Shivpal Yadav, the Once Powerful Chacha of Akhilesh, is Running Out of Options
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and SP leader Shivpal Singh Yadav. (Photo: PTI)
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New Delhi: The fragile truce in the first family of the Samajwadi Party has again come under strain with Mulayam Singh Yadav’s younger brother Shivpal not getting an “honourable rehabilitation” despite repeated attempts at rapprochement with nephew Akhilesh Yadav.

The last bout between the uncle and the nephew was fought two years back when Akhilesh removed chacha Shivpal as the state president of the party and a hurriedly called national convention nominated the former UP CM as SP chief replacing Mulayam Singh Yadav.

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.

The talks have varied between experimenting with a secular front to reviving an old and registered political party like Charan Singh’s Lok Dal.

He’s had a meeting with Yogi Adityanath earlier this month, which the SP leader claimed was to discuss deteriorating law and order situation in the state.

In a party built around a dominant caste, it is often a tad difficult to chart a new course. Challenge to the leadership may be construed as a rebelling that militates against the collective interest of the community.

For someone who has done his politics under the ‘secular wings’ of brother Mulayam, it again would be difficult for him and his friends to be seen having even an indirect truck with the BJP.

In that sense, Shivpal Yadav is fast running out of options.
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