What an irony! The incessant feud in the Yadav family is jeopardising the Samajwadi Party just when it turns 25 years old.
Speculation is rife about a possible split in the party formed on Ram Manohar Lohia’s principle that dissuaded dynastic politics. Ironically, the founder president of the party, who is also the family patriarch, Mulayam Singh Yadav is so deeply caught in the family mess that he is willing to sacrifice the party that he raised with his sweat and blood since October 1992. So much so that a party that was seen till the other day as one of the front runners in 2017 assembly polls is now gasping to stay in the race.
The pertinent question is: Will Akhilesh split the party founded by his father. If yes, when? Already many names and party symbols are in discussion, the most popular being Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party with motorcycle as the party symbol.
However, before taking the extreme step, he will first try to reason out with his father, who will have to wade through family wrangles to support him. While Mulayam is stuck on realpolitik — putting together caste and muscle power in different regions — Akhilesh wants to sail on the single slogan of development.
Akhilesh also wants a major say in ticket distribution.
Perhaps, it was easier for Mulayam to make him chief minister than hand him over the party legacy, to which his younger brother Shivpal has also staked claim. In support, Shivpal has Amar Singh and some members of Mulayam’s second family.
However, Akhilesh is not in a hurry to be on his own. He will assess the public mood during his Vikas to Vijay yatra starting from November 3.
Political experts feel Akhilesh is a popular face in the state and he also has public sympathy since Mulayam started favouring his brother Shivpal. Though many seniors have preferred to remain out of the ongoing family dispute, Kiranmoy Nanda and Azam Khan have already supported him as CM candidate. Azam as Ram Gopal Yadav, the party’s national general secretary, have even described Akhilesh as the best CM in the country.
While the young turks are ready to take the risky plunge, seniors are wary. Reoti Raman Singh, one of the founder-members of the party, agreed that Akhilesh should be the CM face and also have say in ticket distribution.
“But he can’t win election merely on development slogan without the support of the organisation,” he said.
Singh has a point. Split in the party will vertically divide their precious vote bank of Yadavs and Muslims.
Allahabad-based socialist leader Vinod Dubey is of the view that the young, cutting across caste lines, would support Akhilesh. If the party remained united, much of the damage caused by family dispute would be salvaged.
What are the options before Akhilesh in case he decides to split the party? First, he can lead the grand alliance of JD(U), Rashtriya Lok Dal and the Congress. No questions would be raised on his CM claim. This could also form the basis for a future national alliance.
Second, the BJP would also want to ally with his group in case of a hung assembly. However, even though he has toned down his party’s pro-minority image, he would not have any truck with the BJP. His every speech starts with socialism and secularism.