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Mulayam Singh Yadav continues brother-son balancing act, visits Shivpal and SP offices

On Tuesday, Mulayam Singh Yadav visited brother Shivpal’s political HQ before zipping off to the Samajwadi Party office where he met son Akhilesh and party workers and asked them to strengthen the party.

india Updated: Oct 31, 2018 15:00 IST
Pankaj Jaiswal
Pankaj Jaiswal
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
mulayam singh yadav,shivpal yadav,samajwadi party
Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav accepts flag of Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party Lohia from his brother and PSPL founder Shivpal Singh Yadav at his residence, in Lucknow, Tuesday, Oct 30, 2018. (PTI)

Uttar Pradesh strongman Mulayam Singh Yadav continued his balancing act between his son and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, and brother Shivpal Yadav who recently announced the formation of a rival party, the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party and a movement, the Samajwadi Secular Morcha. On Tuesday, he visited Shivpal’s political HQ, took a tour of the premises, spoke to supporters, even accepted a flag of the Morcha before zipping off to the Samajwadi Party HQ where he met Akhilesh and party workers and asked them to strengthen the party.

Shivpal has all along claimed that he formed the party and launched the Morcha with Yadav’s blessings and repeated this, for the first time in the latter’s presence. “I asked Netaji (Mulayam) thrice before forming the Morcha. I have formed it with his consent and blessings. Both he and I had suffered much disrespect in Samajwadi Party because of gossip mongers and sycophants.”

Shivpal’s party HQ, on 6, Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg, was alloted to him by the Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party government. The premises was occupied previously by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati who vacated it in June this year. The rapidity of the allotment has set tongues wagging about the new party’s possible spoiler-effect in next year’s Lok Sabha elections. Akhilesh and Mayawati have already sewn up an alliance for the election although its exact contours haven’t been revealed.

Asked for reactions, Samajwadi Party spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said: “What can I say on this?.

Another party leader said: “They are brothers and they will stay brothers. So far as politics is concerned, he is with Samajwadi Party. Even today he asked us to strengthen Samajwadi Party to fight BJP.”

Interestingly, the visit seems to have been a planned one. Seeing the crowd at the venue, Yadav said: “When you all were aware that I was coming here, then you should have had organised this programme at a bigger place.”

Shivpal, with Mulayam, sitting by his side said: “We have proposed making Netaji the national president of our Morcha and we will make a formal proposal at our national convention.”

Yadav asked the gathered party workers to “to respect poor, farmers, youth, and women and work for them. Fight against injustice.”

Shivpal said Yadav had founded, expanded, and strengthened the Samajwadi Party and that following that example, he too would bring together Lohiawaadis and Gandhiwaadis and strengthen the Morcha and the new party. The Samajwadi Party is a socialist party and follows in the footsteps of socialist Ram Manohar Lohia, Yadav’s mentor.

This is the second time Yadav has attended a Shivpal event. On October 12 the two shared the dais at the Lohia Trust Office in Lucknow.

Mulayam has visited the Samajwadi Party office in Lucknow about half a dozen times in recent weeks, even sharing the stage with Akhilesh in Delhi at Jantar Mantar at the end of a cycle rally by the party in New Delhi last month.

Before October 12, political circles concluded that Mulayam had realigned himself with Akhilesh and simultaneously distanced himself from Shivpal. That perception changed on October 12 and will change even more after Tuesday’s happenings.

Akhilesh and Shivpal were locked in a bitter feud over the control of the party that started in 2016. Akhilesh eventually took over the reigns of the pary in January by becoming its national president. Shivpal was stripped of all posts and was not given any constitutional post in the party and merely existed as the SP MLA from Jaswant Nagar. Eventually, Shivpal announced his long proposed Samajwadi Secular Morcha (SSM) on August 29; last week he announced the formation of the party, Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia).

Analysts say Yadav may not choose one over the other. Prof Deepak Malik, a political analyst who taught at Banaras Hindu University, said, “Mulayam’s balancing act won’t serve either Akhilesh or Shivpal. But if he carries on like this, then it will heavily impact Mulayam himself, as he will lose the credibility that he has built over the years.“

Prof SK Dwivedi, a political analyst and former head of the department of political sciences, Lucknow University said: “He will benefit none, harm Samajwadi Party more. He is confusing the workers and leaders of both sides. He should take a firm stand, and stand with one.”

Shivpal presented Yadav with a flag of the Morcha. Both brothers were all smiles.

First Published: Oct 31, 2018 15:00 IST