Knives are bound to be out for Akhilesh Yadav after the drubbing Samajwadi Party (SP) received in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh polls.
The first volley of criticism for the chief minister is expected to come from his estranged uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav, who despite the party’s poor performance managed to retain his Jaswant Nagar assembly seat with a victory margin of 40,000 votes.
“Pride went before the fall. This is not a defeat of the samajwadis but of arrogance and of those who removed Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav, from party’s post of national president) and humiliated me,” said Shivpal. Ignored by the party in its poll campaign and selection of candidates, Mulayam’s brother had the last laugh after the poll verdict.
It was the row over who would have a bigger say in ticket distribution for the assembly polls that triggered a rift in the Yadav family. After Shivpal replaced Akhilesh as SP’s state president last year, the party saw a series of sackings and counter-sackings by both the camps. Though Akhilesh won the internal battle upstaging both his uncle and father, his failure to bring SP back to power could see a fresh round of power struggle in the party.
“You can insult me, sack me but I have also done good work for the party and will continue working for it. A post doesn’t make a person big; one should have the spirit of making sacrifices. Netaji consolidated the party and I will not tolerate his insult,” Shivpal had said at the party’s silver jubilee celebrations in Lucknow on November 5 last year.
“People who have not struggled and done nothing for the party are enjoying the perks of power,” he added. It was apparent he was attacking nephew and bete noire Akhilesh
The time may now just be ripe for Shivpal to hit back. And he may not be alone in raising the banner of revolt.
Just a day before the final phase of voting in the state, Mulayam’s wife Sadhna Gupta showed her support for Shivpal by saying he wasn’t treated fairly.