It is not unusual for the ruling Yadav clan of the Samajwadi Party (SP) to visit their ancestral village Saifai in Etawah district for the Diwali celebrations. But what is different this time is the UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s solo trip here.
Akhilesh came to the village on Saturday evening but was unable to meet even his partymen, who were waiting outside for hours, as he was tired after a long drive on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway.
In his own polite way, he asked everyone to come on Sunday, promising to meet everyone. Despite his request, one or two people sneaked in and were able to shake hands with him.
In a hush-hush tone, everyone kept talking about why Netaji (SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav) and state SP president Shivpal Yadav was conspicuously absent. But no one dared ask these questions out loud.
The first thing Akhilesh did on Sunday was to visit the residence of his uncle Ramgopal Yadav, who was expelled from the party last week during the ongoing political feud in the family. The meeting between the two lasted about 45 minutes. Both emerged from the meeting looking happy and relaxed but refused to say anything on camera.
After that, the chief minister met a gathering of locals at the PWD guesthouse, where people had gathered in large numbers.
The chief minister later met his uncles Rajpal Yadav and Anant Singh in Etawah.
He also enquired about the condition of lions at the Lion Safari. He then returned to Saifai, where a large crowd was waiting to meet him at the PWD auditorium. Having learnt their lesson from the stampede-like situation on Sunday morning, the security personnel regulated the crowd with an iron fist.
Akhilesh distributed sweets alone.
Nevertheless, Saifai residents’ loyalty to the Samajwadi Party was evident, despite the entire Yadav family not being together.
“For us, Akhilesh is the successor of Mulayam Singh and we will go by that,” said Bisheshwar, a resident of a nearby village.
Malti, a resident of Etawah, who came with an application said, “He is a replica of Netaji”.
In the evening, Akhilesh returned to Lucknow by helicopter, first going to his official residence at 5 Kalidas Marg and then to 4 Vikramaditya Marg, where he currently resides.
Shivpal Yadav was reported to have reached Etawah later.