Uttar pradesh

U.P. Assembly polls | Akhilesh dismisses speculation about sister-in-law joining BJP

Samajwadi Party National President Akhilesh Yadav addressing media, in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, on January16, 2022.

Samajwadi Party National President Akhilesh Yadav addressing media, in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, on January16, 2022.

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Monday dismissed speculation about his sister-in-law Aparna Yadav joining the BJP ahead of the Assembly elections.

Taunting the BJP, he said, “The BJP is more concerned about my family than me. Are you asking the question after being inspired by the BJP?” He was speaking to reporters at the party headquarters in Lucknow.

This is not the first time Mr. Yadav has to field questions on his family.

Ms. Aparna Yadav is married to Prateek, son of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh’s second wife Sadhana. Mr. Singh acknowledged his second wife only in 2007, four years after the death of his first wife and mother of Mr. Akhilesh Yadav.

During the protracted battle over ownership of the party between the father and the son in 2016, both Ms. Aparna and Mr. Prateek were at the forefront. The warring sides called a truce only after Mr. Akhilesh Yadav among other things agreed to allow Ms. Aparna to contest from the Lucknow Cantonment seat. It was the very first time that Mr. Singh’s second family got political space.

Until then Mr. Singh’s cousin Ram Gopal Yadav, SP’s key strategist, had stalled all moves by Ms. Sadhana and Mr. Prateek to enter electoral politics. In June 2012, the Kannauj Lok Sabha seat fell vacant after Mr. Akhilesh Yadav resigned to become the U.P. Chief Minister. Sources say Ms. Aparna was eager to fight from Kannauj but the party decided to back Mr. Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple.

In 2014 general elections, Mr. Singh contested from Mainpuri and Azamgarh which many saw as his way of reserving Azamgarh for Mr. Prateek. But the seat went to Tej Pratap.

A post-graduate in international relations from Manchester University, U.K., Ms. Aparna’s views have often been at odds with the party’s ideology. From time to time, she has showered praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Sources said her entry into the BJP will not be so smooth either. Since Sunday evening, senior BJP leaders have been indicating that she will have to join the saffron party without laying down any conditions.

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Printable version | May 15, 2022 5:17:42 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/uttar-pradesh-assembly/up-assembly-polls-akhilesh-dismisses-speculation-about-sister-in-law-joining-bjp/article38283644.ece