Following a big defeat at the hands of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, which was largely blamed on the dispute within the family that led to former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav snatching the reigns of the Samajwadi Party, Shivpal Yadav, party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brother, confirmed that he will be forming a new political party, ‘Samajwadi Secular Morcha’ with Mulayam as its chief. However, Akhilesh, while speaking at Aaj Tak’s ‘Panchayat’ event in Lucknow on Friday evening said that Mulayam is still with the party despite his uncle Shivpal’s claims.
The whole political episode in UP has always been quite dramatic, and this year before the assembly elections, it was nothing short of a potboiler. But as both father and son in SP are cracking whips at each other, where one is powerful and the other is popular, it remains to be seen, who can hold his own amidst the fracas. Akhilesh, when he was at the helm, appeared to be a mature politician, after all, he is the scion of a wise old leader. The political novice had come of age and was challenging the giant himself. After the elections, it is clear, that SP faces a double-edged sword, it is undeniable that one side is going to bleed more, and this time too Akhilesh seems to have the upper hand.
However, this fight goes a long way back. The defiance by the Chief Minister really started when he openly resisted his uncle Shivpal Yadav. Mulayam Singh had tried to make peace between them but his siding with Shivpal didn’t go down well with Akhilesh. This gave a rise to an open battle where Akhilesh sacked ministers who were allied to Shivpal, and in turn his uncle removed CM loyalists from the party.
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Akhilesh is a highly popular leader in the state but the party is in shambles currently, which raises further doubts on Mulayam’s decision to remain defiant. And this is not the first time that Akhilesh faces opposition, as all his life he has been a rebel against his father, be it marriage or be it studies. And then there was re-inducting of Amar Singh in the party. The moot question, however, is whether Mulayam is jealous of the adulation received by the CM from people, which goes beyond vote bank politics?
But we must also take into consideration Mulayam Singh’s role in shaping the CM and the party itself. He carved the path out for Akhilesh’s rise to the top with the precision of a wise Indian politician. He processed goodwill of people for Akhilesh by making him join the Youth wing and using it in the 2012 assembly elections. But Akhilesh knew how to turn the parivarwaad image to gather trust of his people. As Akhiles’s image soared in the minds of the public, his party went down due to awkward internal dynamics.
Here is a timeline of how the events unfolded:
Samajwadi party had expelled youth leaders who were close aides of Akhilesh Yadav, Sunil Singh Yadav (Sunil Sajan) and Anand Bhadauria for ‘anti-party’ activities. This forced the CM to miss the first day of Saifai Mahotsav.
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The close aides were reinstated eventually. Quami Ekta Dal (QED) merges with SP. Akhilesh sacks cabinet minister Balram Yadav for his role in the merger; also cancelling the merger. Shivpal threatened to resign on the issue of land grabbing and involvement of party leaders. Mulayam then warns son of a party split.
Akhilesh sacked two ministers mining minister Gayatri Prajapati and Panchayati raj minister Rajkishore Singh who were facing allegations of corruption, after Allahabad court directive to CBI. Akhilesh removed chief secretary Deepak Singhal considered close to Shivpal. He had earlier strongly opposed the return of Amar Singh to the party. In return, Mulayam removed Akhilesh and replaced him with Shivpal as state unit president. Akhilesh retaliated by removing Shivpal from all key portfolios.
Mulayam tried to mend the rift between Akhilesh and Shivpal. But Shivpal resigned from state president and cabinet posts. Interestingly, Akhilesh refused to accept his resignation. Even Mulayam rejected Shivpal’s resignation and as part of a truce, the sacked ministers were reinstated and he got back is portfolios.
Mulayam tried to garner peace but did not support Akhilesh as the CM candidate. However, this time Shivpal said he will back Akhilesh.
After fresh controversy regarding Ram Gopal’s expulsion and reinstallment, Mulayam expelled Akhilesh for six years following the release of a parallel list of candidates. He was, however, reinstated the next day.
Akhilesh was appointed, as the new chief of the party and Mulayam was made the mentor of the party. Mulayam responded by approaching the Election Commission and tried to stake claim over SP’s election symbol.
Mulayam kept accusing his son of being against Muslims.
After the UP assembly elections!
Tensions rise as signs of rift received fresh triggers.
The SP supremo’s outburst publicly against son Akhilesh Yadav, on April 1 and said that he had insulted him and the voters understood that ‘one who is not loyal to his father, cannot be loyal to anyone’. He said that this was the reason for SP’s poll debacle. Mulayam also blamed the media for portraying just the family war and accused the people of getting ‘fooled by BJP’.
While Mulayam said that he was still contemplating on forming a new party, Shivpal threatened Akhilesh Yadav to hand over the reins of the party to his father.