Did Akhilesh Mastermind Expulsion Drama to Pressurise Mulayam?

Akhilesh had prepared well for this battle and planned his own expulsion from the SP, writes Sharad Gupta.

5 min read
Hindi Female

Wrestler-turned-politician Mulayam Singh Yadav, during his 60-year career, successfully fought many a political bout. These include those against heavyweights like VP Singh, Chandrashekhar and Rajiv Gandhi. But the Samajwadi Party chief would have never imagined that he would be defeated by the same tricks – that too by his son Akhilesh – that he had been using on others.

Within 24 hours of expelling Akhilesh and Ram Gopal Yadav from the party for six years, Mulayam was forced to revoke their expulsion. Mulayam also agreed to accommodate Akhilesh's candidates while dropping those disliked by the UP Chief Minister.

After being ousted from the SP by Mulayam, Akhilesh has demonstrated his clout and popularity among the cadre and the masses alike. In a show of strength, 208 out of 229 MLAs turned up at his residence, openly defying Mulayam's threat of disciplinary action against those who did. In contrast, only 15 legislators turned up at the meeting summoned by Mulayam. Four out of five Lok Sabha MPs – the only exception being Mulayam himself – 14 out of 19 Rajya Sabha MPs, and 39 out of 67 MLCs too are with Akhilesh. He got them to sign pledges in his favour.


War Over Candidates List

After securing his chief ministership, Akhilesh proceeded to cement electoral alliances for Assembly elections, due in the next six to seven weeks. He is already in touch with Rahul Gandhi and Jayant Chaudhary of the Congress and Rashtriya Lok Dal respectively, to wrest the advantage from his father who was opposed to these alliances.

Clearly Mulayam has lost the battle before it could even begin properly. This was one battle for which Akhilesh had prepared very well. He actually planned his own expulsion from the party. He chose his own timing and the manner. Mulayam was left with little choice but to revoke the disciplinary action against Akhilesh.

Akhilesh had been pushed to the wall by Mulayam and Shivpal after they ignored Akhilesh loyalists in the list of 325 candidates announced on 28 December. Akhilesh first tried to reason with his father, urging him to drop the tainted candidates from the list. After failing to persuade Mulayam in making necessary changes in the list, Akhilesh went ahead and released his list of 235 candidates.

This infuriated Mulayam so much that he decided to expel his son from the party.

It is probably the first instance in Indian history when an incumbent Chief Minister has been expelled from his own party. And also when a political party chief sacked his own son.

Also Read: SP Feud: Akhilesh’s Win Over Mulayam Similar to Indira’s Rebellion

Akhilesh had prepared well for this battle and planned his own expulsion from the SP, writes Sharad Gupta.
(Infographic: Lijumol Joseph/ The Quint)

Will Amar Singh be Shown the Door?

Akhilesh is apparently very clear about his future. He had already clarified that the Samajwadi Party is his party and he is not going to leave it. The national convention convened by him on 1 January in Lucknow has not been cancelled even though Mulayam had dubbed it unconstitutional. The convention, in all likelihood, is going to be another show of strength by Akhilesh supporters.

Akhilesh will be projected as the leader of the 'real' Samajwadi Party. Since uncle Amar Singh is being seen by SP cadre as a villain, in all likelihood he will be thrown out of the party during the convention. Akhilesh will, however, be vowing allegiance to his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, and uncle Shivpal might be spared.

Also Watch: The Quint’s VIDEO GAME: Help Akhilesh Dodge Mulayam & Shivpal


Tussle Over Party Symbol

Mulayam was afraid of losing his party symbol – the bicycle. Whichever camp couldn’t manage to wrest control of the party organisation, in all likelihood would have approached the Election Commission to get the symbol. But with little time at hand to verify claims and counterclaims, the EC might have frozen the symbol and allotted them a different election symbol.

Akhilesh had proved smarter here as well. He already had two symbols at hand – the banyan tree of Chandra Shekhar's SJP had been offered to him by Kamal Morarka, while uncle Ram Gopal got the motorcycle registered for the Rashtriya Samajwadi Party.

This is no longer a political fight. It’s a family feud as well as personal one-upmanship between Akhilesh and Shivpal. The father-uncle duo want to teach the ‘errant’ boy a lesson. What they are not realising is that the boy has grown, matured, and now has a standing of his own. Akhilesh at present is much more popular than Mulayam and Shivpal put together.


Seeds of Feud Sown in 2012

Akhilesh began his stint in politics as a reluctant candidate in 1999, when asked by his father to contest in the Kannauj Lok Sabha by-election – after he had resigned to keep the Mainpuri seat for himself.

But once he was appointed as state president of the party in place of Shivpal, he put his heart and soul into the job. He roamed around UP on cars, makeshift raths and took out cycle yatras, whipping up popular support against the then BSP government in the state.

That resulted in an absolute majority for the Samajwadi Party in the 2012 Assembly elections. Mulayam rewarded Akhilesh by anointing him Chief Minister against Shivpal’s wishes, who looked upon himself as Mulayam's successor. He was placated by Mulayam by being given almost a dozen portfolios, including important ones like Public Works, Irrigation, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj. Yet, he could never reconcile with being denied the Chief Minister's chair. He ran the administration without paying much heed to the 'novice' CM.

Matters came to a head with the nearing of the Assembly elections. Shivpal did not want to lose this opportunity, and hence he convinced party supremo Mulayam to replace Akhilesh as state president.

After that, he wielded the carrot and stick policy to wean away Akhilesh supporters. Denying an opportunity to Akhilesh supporters to contest the polls was the last straw.


Villains in UP Dangal

Shivpal started out by befriending Amar Singh, who had been expelled from the SP in 2011. Shivpal convinced Mulayam to take Amar back into the party fold. Akhilesh alleges that both of them have been poisoning Mulayam's ears against him. That is the reason why Akhilesh supporters have branded the two as villains of the whole drama.


(The writer is a Delhi-based senior journalist. He can be reached @sharadgupta1. The opinion expressed above is the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)

Also Read: Samajwadi Party’s Self-Destruction Timeline: All You Need to Know

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