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As Mulayam talks of unity, defiant Shivpal Yadav says his group will contest all 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP

Within hours of Mulayam’s call for unity, Shivpal Yadav said his Samajwadi Secular Morcha would contest all the 80 seats of the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

india Updated: Aug 31, 2018 23:13 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Lucknow/Meerut
Mulayam Singh Yadav,Shivpal Yadav,Samajwadi Party
Disgruntled with the Samajwadi Party, Shivpal Yadav had floated the Samajwadi Secular Morcha earlier this week.(PTI)

Disaffected Samajwadi Party (SP) leader, Shivpal Yadav, said on Friday that his breakaway front, Samajwadi Secular Morcha, (SSM) will contest all 80 Lok Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh next year, the latest of several signals he has sent of his intention to split from the SP. He has had a rancorous relationship with the SP chief, Akhilesh Yadav, who happens to be his nephew.

Shivpal’s statement came within hours of his elder brother and SP patriarch, Mulayam, trying to quell talks of disunity. “The party and the family are one,” Mulayam told workers at the SP office in Lucknow in the afternoon.

Shivpal had previously promised to stand by his brother after Akhilesh wrested control of the party from his father, Mulayam, in the run up to the Uttar Pradesh assenbly elections in 2017. Akhilesh, who took over as president, removed Shivpal from the post of state unit president.

Shivpal floated the SSM two days ago. He first spoke of the front in May last year after the SP had suffered a bruising defeat in the assembly elections.

He had at the time urged Akhilesh to hand control of the party back to Mulayam.

“We will be tying up with smaller parties and unite those neglected and humiliated and contest the polls with full strength. Without our support, no government will be formed at the Centre,” Shivpal told reporters in Baghpat.

Shivpal said he formed the SSM since “senior leaders were being insulted and ignored in the Samajwadi Party for some time”. Many interpreted this as an allusion to Mulayam not being given the president’s post.

Soon after announcing the formation of his own political party, Shivpal started a tour of western UP on Wednesday.

Shortly after Shivpal announced his outfit, Akhilesh dismissed the reasons cited by his uncle. “I am upset myself, where should I go?” he said. “The Samajwadi Party will move forward, come what may.”

With 80 seats, Uttar Pradesh sends more lawmakers to Lok Sabha than any other state, making it a crucial battleground for the parliamentary elections due next year. In the last general elections, the BJP won 71 of these as it went on to clinch a historic majority.

According to political analysts, the split could have hurt the SP. “Shivpal’s morcha will impact SP’s position in the proposed Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) In Uttar Pradesh. Shivpal has very good organisational skills as he had worked very closely with SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav for a very long time. Many leaders who are not happy in the SP may side with Shivpal,”said prof Kaushal Kishor Mishra, who teaches political science at Banaras Hindu University.

Shivpal, Mishra explained, had a good rapport with SP leaders across Eastern UP, a region where the party was strong till 2017. “Without that, the BSP could assume a bigger role over SP in the proposed alliance,” he said.

First Published: Aug 31, 2018 18:36 IST