The arrest of Aman Mani Tripathi, who was picked by Shivpal Yadav as an SP candidate for next year’s assembly polls despite the chief minister’s opposition, is being viewed as a victory for Akhilesh Yadav in the ongoing feud in the ruling family of Uttar Pradesh.
Aman Mani was arrested by the CBI on Friday for his alleged involvement in the murder of his wife, officials said. He is the son of four-time legislator Amar Mani Tripathi and Madhu Mani, both of whom are serving life term for murdering a poetess, Madhumita Shukla, in 2003.
The arrest is likely to be an embarrassment for Samajwadi Party (SP) state president Shivpal, who picked Aman Mani on October 3, when the CBI had already initiated a probe into the death of his wife.
Aman Mani had claimed that his wife, Sara, 27, died in a road accident when they were on their way to Delhi for a holiday in July 2015.
Sara’s mother, Seema Singh, filed an FIR against Aman Mani and his family members for allegedly murdering her daughter, who was pregnant at the time. She later sought a CBI probe into the case, and said that Aman Mani’s parents were against the marriage.
“Aman Mani’s place is in jail, not in politics,” she told Hindustan Times. “...justice must be done.
“The UP police, under the influence of some leaders of the ruling party in the state, favoured Aman Mani in the case. And there was no hope of justice from UP police. So I demanded a CBI probe, which the chief minister readily recommended .”
A case of kidnapping was also pending against Aman Mani with Lucknow police.
However, shortly after taking over as state SP president, Shivpal named Aman Mani as the party’s pick, intensifying a bruising power struggle within the state’s ruling family.
“I did not get any email informing me about the ticket (to Aman Mani). You people (journalists) got the mail,” Akhilesh had said after Shivpal’s announcement.
Aman Mani was picked to fight from Nautanwa in Maharajganj in eastern Uttar Pradesh, the assembly constituency from which his father was elected MLA four times.
This selection was the third instance when Akhilesh and Shivpal had locked horns.
The first confrontation took place in the run-up to the 2012 UP assembly elections when Shivpal showed an inclination to induct criminal-turned-politician DP Yadav into the party fold. However, Akhilesh, who was the then state party president, blocked the move.
Earlier this year, Shivpal merged Mukhtar Ansari’s Quami Ekta Dal (QED) with the SP, infuriating Akhilesh. The incumbent CM once again asserted his authority and undid the merger, making public the family rivalry bubbling under the surface.
The family feud intensified as SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav removed his son, Akhilesh, as the state president and Shivpal took his place. Shivpal’s first order of business was the QED merger followed by Aman Mani’s nomination.
“I ask the chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav, why Aman Mani, the killer of my daughter, was given the ticket? If Mulayam Singh Yadav has courage then he should give a reply to the educated and wise public of Uttar Pradesh. Why was he given the ticket against public sentiments?” Seema said on the day of the announcement.
She met Akhilesh twice in this regard, following which the murder case was handed to the CBI. Aman Mani’s arrest will come as a vindication for Akhilesh, who has been trying to assert himself in the distribution of party tickets for the upcoming assembly elections.
For the full coverage of the Yadav family feud, click here.