The storm in Samajwadi Party’s tea cup kicked off by its failed deal with Quami Ekta Dal (QED) is far from over.
It has already created a schism within the party and is likely to have major fallout on Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections due in next six months.
It was basically SP general secretary Shiv Pal Yadav who merged QED with his party after striking a deal with Sigbatullah and Afzal, brothers of notorious mafia don Mukhtar Ansari, founder of QED.
But, Shiv Pal’s nephew, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, put his foot down and got the deal annulled two days after the merger announcement.
It was naturally a major loss of face for Shiv Pal who is said to be sulking quietly. Because this is the second time Akhikesh has snubbed him publicly by reversing his political decisions.
It was exactly five years ago – just before 2012 Assembly elections – that Shiv Pal had swung a similar deal with another mafia don D.P. Yadav and got him admitted to the SP.
After the party received a lot of flak from all quarters for admitting criminals, Akhilesh swung into action, convinced his father and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and got the decision reversed.
The QED deal has brought to the fore fissures within top ranks of the party. Clearly, there are two camps, both lead by Akhilesh’s two uncles – Shiv Pal and Ram Gopal Yadav.
Akhilesh does a fine balancing act between the two camps while Mulayam plays the final arbiter. Mulayam sometimes sides with Shiv Pal and sometimes he placates Ram Gopal.
For example, he expelled his close confidante Amar Singh from the party six years ago, at the insistence of Ram Gopal and Azam Khan.
But, he not only re-inducted Singh recently but also gave him Rajya Sabha ticket at the request of Shiv Pal. Ram Gopal and Azam Khan opposed Mulayam’s decision in Samajwadi Party’s parliamentary board meeting.
While Ram Gopal walked out of the meeting in a huff, Khan has been keeping away from the state capital to show his unhappiness.
Brothers may be angry but son is always happy. Mulayam may tick off Akhilesh Yadav publicly but rarely does he go against his wishes.
So much so that he never addresses his son as ‘tum’ – even in private conversations – but always calls him ‘aap’, a respectful address.
The message goes beyond the confines of the close walls and the son is now emerging as the sole authority in the party after his father.
The saying now in SP corridors is: sometimes Mulayam swings Shiv Pal way and sometimes he swings Ram Gopal way but he always sways to son Akhilesh’s tunes,
The equations have become tenuous with second generation leaders of the family entering politics.
While Ram Gopal’s son Akshay is a Lok Sabha member from Shikohabad, Shiv Pal’s son Aditya alias Ankur Yadav, is the chairman of UP Cooperative Federation and is being groomed by his father to contest next year’s Assembly election from family’s pocket borough Jaswantnagar in Etawah district.
The seat that includes Yadav family’s native village Sainfai was always represented by Mulayam himself before he abdicated it in 1996 for Shiv Pal.
Now Shiv Pal wants to switch to some neighbouring seat, probably Bharthana, to let his son Ankur get elected from Jaswantnagar. Besides, entry of Mulayam’s second son Prateek’s wife Aparna, has further complicated issues for Yadav clan.
She has already announced that she would be contesting next year’s Assembly election.
It is in this backdrop that QED’s entry into the SP and equally swift exit from the party should be seen. Shiv Pal spoke to QED with Mulayam Singh’s consent or rather at Mulayam’s prodding.
Both brothers were however, snubbed by Akhilesh when he demanded reversal of QED’s merger.
Shiv Pal bore the full brunt of Akhilesh’s decision even as nobody questioned Mulayam as to why and how he reversed his decision so soon or was it only Shiv Pal’s decision.
Mulayam’s close confidante Amar Singh, drops subtle hints when he says, “I feel there should be complete harmony between Mulayam and Akhilesh”.