With the demise of its tallest leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, the powerful Yadav family of Uttar Pradesh seems to be in a re-thinking mode and the dynamics among family members appears to be changing – again.
The Yadav family, having its root in Etawah’s Saifai, has been the subject of renewed public interest ever since Mulayam fell severely ill and passed away at the age of 82 a week back.
For the uninitiated, the Yadav family, who controls UP’s main opposition Samajwadi Party, split into two in early 2017 with Mulayam’s younger brother Shivpal leading a revolt after losing to his nephew Akhilesh in attempts to take over the reins of the party during a prolonged feud.
Unhappy, Shivpal had later floated his own ‘Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia)’ to challenge Akhilesh Yadav, the former UP chief minister, as the prime torchbearer of socialist values of Dr Ram Manohar Lohia.
After more than 5 years, both Akhilesh and Shivpal sat down together on the banks of the Ganga in Haridwar to perform Mulayam’s post-death rituals as per Hindu tradition.
On Monday, a frost in the relationship between Akhilesh and Shivpal seemed melting down when the Samajwadi Party president was seen taking instructions from his uncle on how to properly bid adieu to the soul of their beloved ‘Netaji’, as Mulayam was fondly called by his supporters.
The photos and videos of the event have further sparked speculations that the two leaders may come together, months after their alliance fell apart.
Responding to speculations of a come-together earlier this week, Shivpal, last week, indicated that he is open to formally merging his party into Samajwadi Party and working under Akhilesh.
“This is not the time to take any decision. We are presently not in a situation to decide what I have to do and not,” Shivpal reportedly told reporters in Safai.
When media persons pressed further, he said: “Let’s see what responsibility is given (to me).”
However, Lucknow-based political analyst Arvind Jaytilak said that not much should be read into the public camaraderie between Akhilesh and his uncle Shivpal.
“Shivpal has already made his ambitions known. There are talks that he could tie up with the BJP in the next general elections. And the way Akhilesh snubbed him publicly has not gone down well with Shivpal,” he told The New Indian.
He further said: “These are family events. But these get-togethers are unlikely to transform into an alliance.”
Considered a fine strategist, Shivpal had forged an alliance with Samajwadi Party for the UP Assembly elections held earlier this year. He was elected as an MLA from the Jaswantnagar seat on an SP ticket in the last state polls.
Their partnership, however, fell apart after Akhilesh announced support for Yashwant Sinha in the presidential elections. Shivpal publicly criticized Akhilesh for his decision, reminding him that Sinha had once called Mulayam an “ISI agent”.