Uttar pradesh

Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections | Chacha Shivpal campaigns for nephew Akhilesh’s sarkar in U.P.

Estranged in the last two elections, 2017 and 2019, Shivpal Yadav campaigns for Akhilesh Yadav in Karhal, Mainpuri in the 2022 Assembly election in Uttar Pradesh. 

Estranged in the last two elections, 2017 and 2019, Shivpal Yadav campaigns for Akhilesh Yadav in Karhal, Mainpuri in the 2022 Assembly election in Uttar Pradesh.  | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

From battling alone to restore his hurt pride after being sidelined to campaigning for his nephew this election season, the last five years have witnessed the isolation, changing relevance and the political vitality of Shivpal Yadav, the “chacha” of U.P.’s socialist politics.

The younger brother of Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mr. Shivpal on Saturday campaigned in Karhal seat of Mainpuri from where his nephew and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav is contesting.

After a long period of estrangement and acrimony, the  chacha-bhatija duo recently announced a truce and forged a political alliance for the Assembly election. 

In the 2017 election, Mr. Shivpal, left embittered by the treatment he received at the hands of his nephew, was focused on retaining his Jaswant Nagar seat in Etawah. This time, however, he has expanded his campaign as the SP looks to avoid a split in the Yadav vote and send a message of unity to the core SP vote bank. In 2019, Akshay Yadav, son of Mr. Mulayam Singh’s cousin Ram Gopal Yadav, learnt the hard way after Mr. Shivpal played spoiler and directly caused his defeat in Firozabad at the hands of the BJP in the Lok Sabha election.

There is a renewed sense of bonhomie going beyond political compulsions as Mr. Shivpal takes charge as the Yadav elder in the absence of the patriarch Mulayam Singh, who is no longer politically active due to age and ill-health. Known for his controversial connections and gaffes, and interventionism when Mr. Akhilesh was in power, Mr. Shivpal is admired by party workers for his ability to address grievances, rustic approach, ground connect and simple outlook. 

Addressing a public meeting in a village in Karhal, Mr. Shivpal started by hailing Mr. Akhilesh as a former “popular Chief Minister,” and appealed voters to elect an Akhilesh sarkar again. “Netaji ke bete aur hamare bhatije [Mulayam Singh’s son and my nephew],” said the five-time MLA as he introduced Mr. Akhilesh. “Abki baar Chacha Sarkar,” responded the crowd in favour of Mr. Shivpal who is fondly referred to as “Chacha” by supporters.

Mr. Shivpal said he wished that Mr. Akhilesh secured a higher margin in Karhal than he did in the neighbouring constituency of Jaswant Nagar from where he is contesting again on an SP symbol. Mr. Mulayam Singh had earlier won the Jaswant Nagar seat eight times. Both seats are SP strongholds where the party enjoys tremendous clout and favourable caste equation. 

From 2012 to 2017, Mr. Shivpal enjoyed the status of a powerful Cabinet Minister in the Akhilesh Yadav government, holding the important Public Works Department portfolio.

Following his public meeting in Karhal, he also tweeted in favour of Mr. Akhilesh saying, “Sought blessings for dear Akhilesh,” from the people. “The SP alliance’s win will not just change the direction of the State but also that of the country,” said Mr. Shivpal, who termed Mr. Akhilesh as the “symbol of change against inflation, unemployment and hate”.

“He is the hope of crores of hearts. My brothers and sisters in Karhal, give him so much love, blessing and support so that its echo can be heard across the entire country,” said Mr. Shivpal.

In 2017, Mr. Shivpal secured over 1.26 lakh votes and defeated his nearest rival by over 52,000 votes. However, the SP’s bastion was dented by the BJP.

In Etawah, while Mr. Shivpal won his seat, the other two were captured by the BJP. In Mainpuri, the SP won three out of four while the BJP won one. In Kannauj, the BJP won two and the only seat the SP managed to win was by a wafer-thin margin of less than 2,500 votes. In Firozabad, the BJP won four seats. The only seat there that the SP won was Sirsaganj but MLA Hariom Yadav, a distant relative of the Yadav clan, turned rebel along with Mr. Shivpal and recently joined the BJP which has fielded him from the same seat.

Will the chacha-bhatija combine secure the Yadav bastion for the SP this time?

Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 14, 2022 8:14:34 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/uttar-pradesh-assembly/chacha-shivpal-campaigns-for-nephew-akhileshs-sarkar-in-up/article65045844.ece