Even as the seven-phase assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh (UP) have come to an end, shrillness of personalised fight, mostly between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will linger on. Use of acronyms like ‘SCAM’ and ‘KASAB’ (it was actually used by BJP president Amit Shah) or ‘Gujarat’s donkey’ jibe by Akhilesh Yadav would not soon fade away from the public memory. They may remain buried under the pages of dailies, magazines or journals after the polls, but they would not disappear completely from the political discourse, ever.
Also, this would be the election to be remembered for Akhilesh Yadav’s effort to prove his leadership. If the poll results don’t bring victory to his party, knives would be out against him. And those who would be first to stab him would be from his own family. A hint to this effect can be seen in his step mother, Sadhana Gupta’s statement.
In an interview to a television channel, she hinted that family strife would “surely impact the Samajwadi Party’s poll prospect.” Even if it be viewed as nothing unusual, her statement that “a lot was said against me when it (family feud) was on. I was disrespected. I won’t let that happen now,” can’t be taken lightly. It clearly indicated that things would not be as usual within SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family if the party fails to emerge victorious in the election.
Will Samajwadi Party Remain United?
Samajwadi Party (SP) patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav may not like the party, that he founded and nurtured, to split while he is still alive. But in the case of the party’s bad performance in the election, there is a possibility that some of the old guards who are currently siding with Akhilesh Yadav, may like to bring rapprochement between father and son to keep the party intact.
With this, Mulayam Singh Yadav may once again become the president of the party. However, if that doesn’t happen then threat of Shivpal Yadav to launch a new party after assembly polls’ results are out, would surface with all force and vindictiveness. In that situation, it will have to be seen what Mulayam Singh Yadav does. Whether he remains neutral, sides with his son Akhilesh Yadav or brother, Shivpal Yadav. His move would be keenly watched by political watchers.
For now, however, it is distinctly clear that Mulayam Singh Yadav would try to maintain a balanced relationship between his son and brother, and keep the party united. He would also like to shepherd his another son, Prateek Yadav into politics. Currently, Prateek is resisting pressures from his mother Sadhana Gupta and wife Aparna Yadav on the issue of joining politics, but in the changed scenario when pressure builds up on him, it is hard to imagine that he would remain stuck in the halfway.
Buzz in the political grapevine of Lucknow is that Prateek will most likely become a Rajya Sabha member. All this will happen when everything remains normal. But if Akhilesh continues to ride roughshod over Shivpal, step mother Sadhana Gupta and other family members, it is less likely that the SP patriarch will stop the party from going haywire.
Does the SP Patriarch Want the Party to Perform Bad?
This already is a hotly debated issue across the political spectrum of the country. But given the current scenario, many journalists and opinion makers feel that dyed-in-the-wool politician, Mulayam Singh Yadav may be wishing that the party suffers drubbing in the assembly election.
This thinking on the part of political watchers may not be far-fetched in view of the SP patriarch’s almost zero campaigning for the party. In the seven-phase election covering 403 assembly seats, Mulayam Singh Yadav did only customary visits to Lucknow cantonment where his ‘Chhoti Bahu’ was contesting and to Jaswantnagar, where his brother Shivpal Yadav was fighting a battle for his political survival.
He didn’t take a single round of Azamgarh, his parliamentary constituency, let alone addressing rallies there. This speaks volumes of the SP patriarch’s anger and pain as well. If he really wanted Akhilesh to be back in power in the state, he would have shown enthusiasm in participating in electioneering activities of the party.
But with Akhilesh Yadav totally ignoring his father on the issues of alliance with the Congress and distribution of tickets, it was obvious that he would be wishing otherwise. A weak, defeated and rather quiet Akhilesh Yadav would be more desirable for him than the one whose aura and influence — after he has emerged victorious in the election — would know no bounds.
Needless to say, the election results would be crucial for the father-son duo. While a defeat for Akhilesh would not mean much for him because he is still very young and has the kind of potential one needs in politics, Mulayam Singh Yadav is facing the drudgery of age. Despite this, he would not like to go into political obliviousness. Until he is alive, he would like to lord over the party along with keeping his family united.
And for this to happen, he would first like to see that those who misguided his son into behaving otherwise against his parents, are removed and vanquished over. And it would materialise only when Lucknow becomes a seat of power for non-Akhilesh Yadav-led establishment.