Strained relations in the Yadav family once again came to the fore when Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav today avoided his uncle Shivpal Yadav in the Uttar Pradesh assembly. Shivpal, an MLA, reached the House and occupied the last bench with SP members, while Akhilesh, an MLC, sat in the front seat during the Governor’s address to the joint sitting of the UP legislature on the first day of the session. After some SP members saw Shivpal, he was escorted to the seat behind Akhilesh, but even after seeing him he avoided greeting him and did not exchange pleasantries.
When a member gave him SP’s red cap, Shivpal readily donned it and kept standing while SP members along with other opposition members raised slogans during the joint address of the Governor. Fissures in the Samajwadi Party resurfaced recently with Shivpal declaring that his brother Mulayam Singh Yadav will head a secular front to be formed by him. Shivpal, who retained the Jaswantnagar seat in the just- concluded Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, had recently given an ultimatum that a “secular front” would be formed if Akhilesh did not hand over the reins of the SP back to his father Mulayam within three months.
The SP had witnessed a bitter feud between uncle Shivpal and nephew Akhilesh in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls. Shivpal had earlier replaced Akhilesh as the SP’s Uttar Pradesh unit chief following which, the then chief minister Akhilesh had removed Shivpal from his cabinet.Following a bitter feud between the father and the son, Akhilesh had snatched the reins of the SP from Mulayam. Their fight had also reached the Election Commission over which faction would retain control over the party symbol, ‘bicycle’. Many in the SP had blamed the power struggle between Akhilesh and Shivpal as the reason behind the party’s dismal performance in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election. The SP, under Akhilesh’s leadership, suffered a humiliating defeat in the polls at the hands of the BJP. The SP-Congress alliance managed to win only 54 seats (SP 47, Congress seven) as opposed to the BJP-led NDA’s 325 in the 403-member House.