In UP’s Yadav Feud, Akhilesh Acted After Mulayam’s Flip-Flop

As Akhilesh tries to emerge as GenNext neta, tough battles with senior family members await him, says Mayank Mishra.

3 min read
The old guard versus new guard tussle is out in the open in the Samajwadi Party. (Photo: Hardeep Singh/ <b>The Quint</b>)

We have seen feuds in political families before. But not as complicated as the one being played out in the ‘Samajwadi’ family in Uttar Pradesh. While one chacha (uncle) is seen to be plotting with his elder brother to upstage his bhatija (nephew), another one is working as the broker-in-chief.

There is a sub-plot too. The father who should have played the role of chief conciliator is adding fuel to the fire by taking decisions in a hurry, that too seemingly against his own son. The son, on his part, has added a new element by talking about an outsider.

Also Read: Samajwadi Party Civil War Leaves Yadavs With Limited Options

Shivpal Yadav (2nd from left) at a press conference being addressed by Samajwadi Party leader, Amar Singh in Lucknow, 12 June, 2016. (Photo: IANS)
Shivpal Yadav (2nd from left) at a press conference being addressed by Samajwadi Party leader, Amar Singh in Lucknow, 12 June, 2016. (Photo: IANS)

Akhilesh Took Decisions After Father’s Consent

The son, Akhilesh Yadav, is the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and is seen to be decisive, at least before the crucial assembly elections. After sacking two cabinet ministers facing charges of corruption, Akhilesh unceremoniously threw out the state chief secretary on 13 September.

Lucknow-based analysts privy to the developments in the Yadav family told The Quint that Akhilesh took both these decisions after consulting his father and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.

However, when Akhilesh was pressured to revoke the order removing the chief secretary, he put his foot down. This move infuriated other members of the influential Yadav family, including Mulayam’s younger brother Shivpal Yadav.

They sought to settle scores by installing Shivpal as the SP’s UP unit chief in place of Akhilesh. Incidentally, the order to appoint Shivpal as the SP’s state unit chief was released in Delhi and not in Lucknow, as had been the case thus far.

Both Camps Out to Settle Scores

Now it was the turn of the CM to retaliate which he did by withdrawing key ministries from Shivpal Yadav. He also refused to attend the meeting called by the family patriarch in Delhi to sort out differences, sources in the Samajwadi Party told The Quint.

Akhilesh is miffed with the way unreasonable demands have come from elders of the Yadav family regarding the key appointments. He does not want to be seen as a weak chief minister who takes orders.
Sources to The Quint

They added that the current fight is unlikely to blow out of proportions.

But the feud is not just about who gets what now. It is about inheriting the legacy of Mulayam Singh Yadav. While more than a dozen members of the Yadav family are engaged in active politics, Akhilesh has emerged as one among the equals, pipping his uncles like Shivpal and Ramgopal Yadav, both Mulayam’s brothers.

With age on his side and his father’s assured ear, Akhilesh is positioning himself for a very long innings in politics.

Akhilesh Projecting Himself as GenNext Leader

This is the reason why he has not shied away from taking tough decisions. The insistence on not merging with Mukhtar Ansari’s Quami Ekta Dal (QED), despite opposition from Shivpal Yadav, was one of them. Ansari’s antecedents run counter to the image that Akhilesh has been seeking to project ahead of the elections.

Akhilesh stood his ground to block the entry of DP Yadav to the SP before the 2012 assembly elections. And he was not very pleased with the re-entry of Amar Singh and his nomination as an SP Rajya Sabha candidate.

Analysts said that what Akhilesh is doing reflects a generational shift in the SP. While he is projecting himself and his party as the one pushing for development in UP, veterans in the family, who continue to place their stock on atavistic identity politics, are yet to reconcile to the forced paradigm shift.

“Mulayam may still back his son. All he wants is that the interests of his near and dear ones are taken care of,” a Lucknow-based political analyst said. For the time being though, such an ugly fight, out in the open, may appear to be like a self-goal when the elections are a few months away.

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