It was perhaps a generational contest. In a short span of six months, both father and son were in the fray: Subhash Yadav, Madhya Pradesh’s former Deputy Chief Minister and his son Arun Yadav, a political novice. Yadav Senior was trying his luck for the state assembly and his son for Parliament. The father was contesting on home ground and the son from a new turf. Yadav Senior was routed while young Arun romped home.
Spent force versus a new face is how political observers sum up the Yadav legacy. Those who pitch for Arun Yadav see him as “more Arun and less Subhash”. In other words, they see him as being on his own rather than riding piggyback on his father’s legacy. “Politics happened because of his father. What paid off was his dedication and hard work,” said Yunus Khan, a professor.
What Arun Yadav cannot wish away is the empire his father built over the years in their native place -- Khargone. Apart from the textile mills and academic institutions, there are petrol stations -- all under Arun Yadav. With his entry into politics came allegations that he had amassed vast amounts of ill-gotten wealth.
Said former state minister Manak Aggarwal of Arun Yadav, “He was an unknown entity till he joined politics. He is amiable and can turn enemies into friends.” And this is precisely why his father’s detractors are drawn towards him. “They helped him win the elections,” Aggarwal told HT.
Yadav’s induction as a minister in the Union Cabinet is thanks to his age and caste. Add to this Rahul Gandhi’s support for young, clean people and the going seems good. Said the state BJP’s Shailendra Singh Dhadoria, “This is just the beginning for Yadav. If he has potential and a promising career ahead. If he plays his cards right and makes the right moves, he will have a decisive role in the state.” In other words, he can become Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister if and when the Congress wrests power in the state.
By Arun Yadav’s own admission, politics was not in his scheme of things. A commerce graduate, his mind was on business. The first thing he did after bagging a motorcycle dealership was to display in one of his showrooms his father’s tractor — the first his father bought with borrowed funds. It is still there as a reminder of their rags to riches story. Arun Yadav said he envied rich kids sporting Nike shoes when he was a child. He now owns horses. So halfway through a meeting if he enquires about Pavan, don’t be surprised — it is his favourite stallion.