Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav’s reunion with uncle Shivpal Yadav seems to have been short-lived. According to sources, their alliance has reportedly reached a deadend after the party lost the Uttar Pradesh state assembly election last month.
Mulayam Singh Yadav’s younger brother Shivpal is said to have been upset with nephew Akhilesh for weeks. It has been reported that he met with the leaders of his Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohiya) (PSP (L)) this week and warned them that a big battle is coming.
The March 30 meeting between Shivpal Yadav and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has thrown more light on speculation that he is on the verge of joining the Bharatiya Janata Party. A senior PSP (L) leader argued that Shivpal was justified in feeling slighted since he once competed for the SP reins, until Akhilesh won. “He has been disrespected too many times in the SP,” he said. NDTV quoted Shivpal Yadav as saying that the meeting was a “courtesy visit”. “When the time comes, we will talk about it,” he said cautiously, responding to reporters’ questions.
For the SP, Shivpal’s partnership with the BJP would be embarrassing, since it had stressed during the election campaign that all family conflicts have been settled. In the days leading up to the distribution of tickets for candidacy, Akhilesh’s sister-in-law Dimple Yadav left the SP to join the BJP.
So far, the BJP has been guarded in its approach regarding the matter, refusing to provide any photos or discuss anything about Wednesday’s meeting. When questioned about Shivpal on Thursday evening, Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya stated flatly, “There is no such vacancy for now.” KP Maurya is the BJP’s most prominent OBC leader at the moment. Shivpal will be the largest Yadav name in the saffron fold if he joins the party.
Differences between uncle and nephew have become more pronounced ever since their poll defeat. Akhilesh and Shivpal Yadav reportedly met last Thursday, on March 24, a day before Yogi Adityanath’s oath ceremony for a second consecutive term. Shivpal supposedly sought to be given a larger role in the Samajwadi Party. According to party sources, Akhilesh Yadav reminded his uncle that he was an ally, not a Samajwadi Party member. He also did not invite Shivpal Yadav to a meeting of his party MLAs. In an answer to Shivpal Yadav’s question, the SP chief made it clear that a separate meeting of party allies would take place soon.
In December 2021, Akhilesh Yadav had announced that the SP and PSP (L) would team up to contest the UP election. The duo came together for the election, five years after Shivpal broke away from the SP. In a separate incident, Akhilesh Yadav visited his uncle’s home, about half a kilometre away from his, and was seen touching his feet.
During Akhilesh’s term in power from 2012 to 2017 in Uttar Pradesh, Shivpal Yadav was known to be the second-most influential minister. The feud between the two accelerated when Shivpal replaced Akhilesh Yadav as the Samajwadi Party’s chief, following which, Akhilesh revoked all the ministerial responsibilities he had assigned his uncle.