Political circles in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh are abuzz over a photo of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat which has gone viral on social media. The two leaders met each other on Monday at the wedding reception of Vice President Venkaiah Naidu’s granddaughter in Delhi.
In the photo, Yadav and Bhagwat can be seen sitting on the same sofa as they interact with Union Minister of State (MoS) Arjun Ram Meghwal. Meghwal, who posted the picture on Twitter, said Mohan Bhagwat was wishing him a happy birthday when the photograph was clicked.
“Is the S in the ‘new SP’ meant to be Sanghawad,” the Uttar Pradesh Congress asked in its post in Hindi.
This prompted a reply from the BJP which said a “picture says a lot”.
Stung by the Congress tweet, a furious Samajwadi Party did not hold back.
“The Congress has put up a photo from an event where leaders of its ally NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) also sought Netaji’s (Mulayam Singh) blessing. What does the Congress have to say to this?” the Samajwadi Party replied on the Congress tweet.
Apart from the RSS chief and the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, the wedding reception was attended by President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
The photo has created political flutter as the states is just a few months away from the polls where the BJP faces a direct challenge from the Samajwadi Party. Several pre-poll surveys have predicted a comfortable victory for the BJP but at the same time, some major gains for Akhilesh Yadav-led party.
Just two days before the Mulayam Singh-RSS meeting, Akhilesh Yadav’s aide and top Samajwadi leaders were raided by Income Tax officials, which prompted a sharp reaction from the former chief minister.
“I have said this time and again that as elections approach, all this starts happening. Abhi toh Income Tax department aaya hai, Enforcement Directorate aayega, CBI aayega (Right now, now the tax department has come… the Enforcement Directorate will come, CBI will come) but the cycle (the Samajwadi Party’s poll symbol) will not stop… we will continue at the same pace … the BJP will be wiped out of UP,” Akhilesh Yadav told reporters.