Aparna Yadav's Entry Into the BJP: A Game of Politics or Perception?
Her entry raises multiple questions about why the BJP was keen on taking her under its wing.
Aparna Yadav, known better as the daughter-in-law of Mulayam Singh Yadav than a leader of the Samajwadi Party, joined the BJP on Wednesday, 19 January, in the presence of Uttar Pradesh party chief Swatantra Dev Singh and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya.
She is the wife of Prateek Yadav, the son of Mulayam and his second wife Sadhana Gupta.
The Daughter-in-Law's Struggle
Aparna has not tasted an electoral win so far, as she had lost the 2017 elections on an SP ticket. Her entry raises multiple questions about why the BJP was keen on taking her under its wing. The welcome speeches made by Maurya and Singh indicate that her USP, as far as the BJP is concerned, is being the daughter-in-law of Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Singh had stated that Mulayam's daughter was welcome in the party. "During the regime of the Samajwadi Party, muscle power was so dominant that no one was safe in western UP, be it a farmer or a daughter. Everyone would close their doors at the dusk. Even if the police arrested someone for hooliganism, 'Miyan Jan' readily intervened," Singh had said.
Maurya, meanwhile, had said, "Aparna Yadav, the daughter-in-law of Mulayam Singh Yadav has become part of the BJP, and I welcome her."
The defection is a clear hint that all is not well within the mighty Yadav family, and it once again stands divided as it did in 2017. Akhilesh Yadav, in 2017, was blamed for not being able to keep his own flock together, and now, the BJP is trying to use the same ploy again.
"Akhilesh Yadav has not been able to manage his own family. He was a failure as CM; he was a failure as a Member of Parliament. He claims that he had brought development to the state, but he is not able to gather the courage to fight from the area which he claims to have developed," Maurya had said.
Aparna Yadav: Not a Knight, Bishop, or Rook, but a Rookie
Aparna can be described as a political rookie at best.
After three Cabinet ministers of the Yogi Adityanath government joined the SP just after the announcement of the election, the street perception of the BJP being "invincible" was dented. Swami Prasad Maurya, who jumped the ship, is considered a weathervane of state politics. He was a BSP leader before he had joined the BJP in 2017.
Secondly, the BJP, in no way, wanted to give away the fact that its "formidable" image was starting to sublimate. Thus, a counteraction was needed, and Aparna was the answer.
The quarreling Yadav clan has been enjoying a brief period of tranquility of late – Shivpal Yadav is back under the umbrella of the Yadav scion. In fact, Aparna had an important role to play in the last feud that resulted in Shivpal's exit. Akhilesh had accused Shivpal of favouring his stepbrother, which led to the hostility.
BJP May Gain in Perception, but May Lose the Seat
Aparna is the daughter of a journalist, and is not a deft hand in politics. She had claimed the Lucknow Cantt seat earlier but was denied a ticket.
After she was given a party ticket on the recommendation of patriarch Mulayam, she had lost the election. Family disputes may be out in the open now, but the SP, as a party, has not got much to lose by the defection of Aparna.
The BJP does not have much to gain either. Aparna has sought a BJP ticket from the Lucknow Cantt seat again, where Brahmin votes dominate the caste equation. Being a Yadav is not an added qualification as far as this seat is concerned. The constituency has a sizeable number of Brahmins from the hills, but Aparna belongs to a Thakur family.
Rita Bahuguna, who had joined the BJP from the Congress, had won the Lucknow Cantt seat in 2017, while Aparna was the runner-up. Bahuguna had won the seat in 2012 on a Congress ticket as well. She had secured 50 percent of the total vote polled as a BJP candidate in 2017, but had got only 38 percent of the voteshare in 2012, when she had won the seat on a Congress ticket. The BJP’s Suresh Chandra Tiwari had won the seat for two consecutive terms in 2002 and 2007.
Thus, the defection of Aparna may give the BJP a brief respite, but what the party needs is an electoral success, which she can neither promise for herself nor deliver for the BJP.
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