Azamgarh, dominated by the Yadav-Muslim combo, is turning out to be a major inheritance issue among the Yadav family members after Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav decided to fight the Lok Sabha elections from this constituency.
But as Yadav will also contest from his traditional turf, Mainpuri, speculations is rife over which seat he will vacate if he wins both. And in that case, who from the Yadav family will inherit the seat?
Chief of the SP’s Maharashtra unit, Abu Asim Azmi, who is from Azamgarh, said, “Our ambition is to get Netaji (Yadav) a bigger victory margin. We are not bothered who ‘inherits’ it later.”
The list of possible ‘inheritors’ features names of several family members. One of the names is that of Yadav’s second son Prateek, who is married to Aparna, daughter of a senior Lucknow-based journalist, who recently became the state’s information commissioner.
An SP leader, who didn’t want to be named, said, “You never know, Aparna may want to go for it. She is politically more ambitious than Prateek.” Stepbrother of CM Akhilesh Yadav, Prateek recently said at a function: “I do not have any interest in politics.”
Meanwhile, there are rumours that Azamgarh’s sitting MP, Ramakant Yadav of the BJP, is feeling shaky and is likely to stand down and join the SP to contest from Jaunpur. Ramakant has been Azamgarh MP for four times.
Senior UP minister Shivpal Yadav said, “The SP is open to joining of secular people from any party.”
Party sources, however, feel Mulayam may keep Azamgarh for the advantage he needs during the 2017 assembly elections. He is keeping his grandson, Tej Pratap Singh alias Teju Bhaiya, as a standby for the Mainpuri seat.
Tej Pratap is the son of Mulayam’s late nephew Ranveer Singh, who was the block chief of Mulayam’s ancestral village Saifai in Etawah. Now, Tej is the block chief there.
Party sources said Tej was Mulayam’s first preference for any seat that he would vacate.
The other names being discussed are Mulayam’s cousin Ramgopal Yadav’s son Aksh-aya Yadav, the candidate from Firozabad.
“In case Akshaya doesn’t make it to the Lok Sabha, he would be sent through Mainpuri or Azamgarh,” said the source.
Interestingly, the SP had fielded another Yadav — not from the Mulayam family, though — from Azamgarh in 2012.
But there were demonstrations and cycle yatras against the decision to field panchayati raj minister Balram Yadav. He had to withdraw from the race.
The party then nominated Hawaldar Yadav. The protests and demands for a Yadav clan member did not, however, cease. The cadre wanted Mulayam’s second son Prateek Yadav, daugher-in-law Dimple Yadav, or Mulayam himself. Political observers, meanwhile, said Azamgarh may not be a cakewalk for Mulayam.
But senior party leaders said, “Yes, this was the case earlier. But in the last assembly elections, we won nine of the 10 seats in the district.”