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Family feud triggers guessing game about Yadavs’ Diwali celebrations

The bitter power tussle in the family has raised questions whether the Yadavs will come together on Diwali this time as the crisis within the ruling party seems to be far from over.

YadavFamilyFeud Updated: Oct 28, 2016 17:19 IST
Pankaj Jaiswal
Kannauj MP and UP CM Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav performs grah pravesh puja for the new permanent government house  of the CM on October 9, 2016. Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shivpal Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav are seated behind.
Kannauj MP and UP CM Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav performs grah pravesh puja for the new permanent government house of the CM on October 9, 2016. Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shivpal Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav are seated behind.(Twitter/@yadavakhilesh)

The Samajwadi Party’s ruling Yadav clan, which is beset by a strife that is threatening to hamper the ruling party’s prospects in the February-March assembly polls, is famous for its bonhomie during festivals.

The bitter power tussle in the family has raised questions whether the Yadavs will come together on Diwali this time as the crisis within the ruling party seems to be far from over.

The clan’s heavyweight politicians or even its lesser known leaders take a break from politics and assemble mostly in their ancestral village Saifai or in state capital Lucknow on festivals like Holi, Raksha Bandhan, Eid, Janmashtami, Navratri, Diwali and Saifai Mahotsav, weddings or engagement ceremonies.

In the past, the Yadav family has never missed celebrations at their native village, whatever the political situation was.

Read | The Yadavs of Uttar Pradesh: Taking a look at India’s biggest political family

The results of the 2012 UP assembly election were announced on March 6 and the Samajwadi Party began preparing for the swearing-in on March 15.

In the intervening period, the party witnessed a behind-the-scenes tussle between party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brother Shivpal Yadav and their cousin Ramgopal Yadav on whether Mulayam’s son Akhilesh should be made the chief minister or not.

Despite the differences, the entire clan had assembled in Saifai on Holi on March 8 and drenched in colours.

And when the family celebrates, villagers from far and near join in every time.

“But this time people are wondering. They are ‘hoping against hope’ that everything gets sorted out before Diwali. It is already ‘Dhanteras’ today (Friday),” Etawah’s Anurag Gupta said.

Shivpal had shown the first signs of the feud publicly in Mainpuri on August 14 when he threatened to resign. On August 15, Mulayam openly came out in support of Shivpal. Akhilesh went to his uncle Shivpal’s house in Lucknow to get a ‘rakhi’ tied by his cousin (Shivpal’s daughter) a few days later.

Read | Thanks to the SP squabble, non-Yadav OBC votes could go to the BJP

The feud was in a nascent stage then. Now, it has grown substantially and the differences in the party came to the fore once again on Thursday as Mulayam skipped the ‘Yash Bharti’ awards function after Akhilesh refused to dismiss a minister expelled from the party.

The clan assembles in Lucknow to celebrate every Eid and the last time it was no different. Amar Singh, who Akhilesh blames for the strife in the family, too had joined the celebrations.

Both Shivpal and Mulayam were present when Akhilesh did grih-pravesh or a house-warming ritual for his new permanent government accommodation in Lucknow during Navratri (early October). Kannauj MP and Akhilesh’s wife Dimple Yadav performed the puja on that occasion.

A few weeks later, Akhilesh sacked Shivpal and three ministers from his cabinet.

In retaliation, Shivpal, who is the party’s state chief, sacked pro-Akhilesh minister and Ayodhya MLA Pawan Pandey from the party two days later. Shivpal is adamant on not taking Pandey or over 30 other Akhilesh loyalists, who have been ousted from the SP, back.

Similarly, Mulayam has shown clear signs that he is in no mood to take Ramgopal Yadav back. Ramgopal, who was the party’s national generally secretary, was expelled from the party on October 23.

Read | ‘Akhilesh ki Dileri, Modi ki Dahaad’: Political twist to Diwali crackers in UP