Shivpal stays away from meeting of SP allies

Shivpal Singh Yadav. File

Shivpal Singh Yadav. File | Photo Credit: RAJEEV BHATT

Faultlines have resurfaced in the Yadav clan as Shivpal Yadav didn’t attend the meetings of the allies with Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday. Mr. Shivpal chose to spend the day listening to Bhagavat in Etawah. The tension in the family became apparent when the uncle was not invited by the nephew to the meeting of the SP’s legislatures where Mr. Yadav was appointed as the leader of the legislative group.

Making his anguish known, Mr. Shivpal had told reporters that he was disappointed at not being invited to the meeting of party legislators. “I have won on the Samajwadi Party symbol. So, I felt that I would be invited to the meeting.” SP president Naresh Uttam Patel had played down the incident, describing Mr. Shivpal as an alliance partner and that he would be invited to the meeting pf allies.

The same day Mr. Shivpal left for Etawah and attended a meeting where the Bharatiya Janta Party candidate from Sirsaganj, Hariom Yadav, was present.

A close relative of party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mr. Hariom was the sitting SP MLA but switched to the BJP when a protege of Ramgopal Yadav, cousin of Mr Shivpal with whom he shares a tumultuous relationship, was given the SP ticket. Mr. Hariom had spoken against Mr. Ramgopal when Mr. Shivpal formed his own party in 2018.

Mr. Shivpal said Mr. Hariom had worked hard and should have won. Talking to reporters, he used the metaphor of Mahabharat to put his point across. “In Mahabharat, Yudhisthir made the mistake of getting into a gambling duel with Shakuni (his uncle), instead of taking on Duryodhan.”

He went on to remind that among the SP legislators, he had won by the highest margin from Jaswant Nagar. Observers said it was a dig at Mr. Yadav for whom he had canvassed in Karhal.

He made his disappointment known by not taking oath as an MLA on Monday. On Tuesday, Mr. Shivpal said he would make his next move known soon.

Rakshpal Singh, vice-president of Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) said the events of the last few days indicated the “insecurity” of Mr Yadav. “We had advised Shivpalji that his nephew will cheat him but he didn’t listen for the larger good of the opposition unity.”

Prof. Singh said the BJP was offering respect and post to Mr. Shivpal when he left SP in 2018 after being insulted by Mr. Yadav. “He told them that his disenchantment with the SP is only short-term and formed his own party instead.”

On the argument given by Mr. Yadav’s camp that all the allies, even if they contested on SP’s symbol, were invited for a separate meeting, Mr .Singh said Mr. Shivpal was the president of a party and still chose to contest on SP’s symbol even when his supporters were denied tickets. “It has a completely different connotation. Even if the party had taken the stand, it should have been conveyed graciously to Shivpalji by Akhilesh. This tamasha to test his patience was completely avoidable.”

He said the Yadavs in West U.P. were unhappy with the move. “The Yadav family accrued wealth only after the turn of the millennium. People remember how Shivpalji would carry Akhilesh on his scooter to the Sainik School in Dholpur. He literally grew under the shadow of Shivpali and his wife.”

It seemed, he said, Mr. Yadav felt that his uncle would walk away with the party. “This stems from Shivpalji popularity at the grassroots and the respect he commands in sections of the BJP. It is because when the SP was in power, he never said no to any opposition party leader. But he is no threat to Akhilesh.”

Mr. Yadav’ supporters admit that Mr. Shivpal was angry but a party spokesperson said he had no option but to support the SP alliance. “In the past too, he said different things when his supporters were not given tickets but ultimately gave in.” A section believed that Mr. Shivpal had lost his value as Yadavs were behind Akhilesh. “If he switches to the BJP, it will help that party in getting rid of the parivarvadi (nepotism) tag,” said a young SP leader, requesting anonymity.

Pushed to the brink again, Mr. Singh said, Mr. Shivpal has only a few options left. “Even if he resigns, he could get re-elected from Jaswant Nagar as an independent. Such is his popularity in the constituency.”

Meanwhile, for the BJP, observers said, it was a great opportunity to break the impregnable Yadav vote bank. For the time being, BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi is also speaking in metaphors. “Rah-e-dur-e-ishq main hota hai kya, aage aage dekhiye hota hai kya (let’s see what happens next),” he said, reminding how Mr. Yadav ditched the Congress and the BSP after electoral losses in the past.

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2022 10:17:51 pm |