Yadavs call truce for now, fireworks may come after Diwali
By Mohit Dube
After more than a month of a bitter and public turf war that shocked Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party’s warring Yadavs have called for truce now. But there may be more fireworks post Diwali.
While Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is busy attending public functions, signing files and presiding over meetings, his uncle and state party chief Shivpal Singh Yadav is sprucing up the ruling party and networking with old socialist chums who had drifted apart, specially after theSamajwadi Party walked out of the ‘Maha Gathbandhan’ in Bihar last year. At the bidding of party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shivpal Yadav recently went to Delhi and met some old satraps of the socialist movement.
While the official reason for the meetings was to invite them to the November 5 event when the Samajwadi Partymarks 25 years of its existence, informed sources say the real motive was to work out how to trip Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP. Shivpal Yadav has been openly championing the return of Mulayam Singh as Chief Minister and wants the 2017 assembly polls to be held under his leadership, with the larger Janata Pariwar coming together again.
Invites are being sent to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad and Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh. An aide to Mulayam Singh told IANS that ‘Netaji’ had realised that the return to power under Akhilesh Yadav would not be easy, more so after the bitter factionalism in the party.
Mulayam Singh has blamed estranged cousin Ram Gopal Yadav of scuttling the “Maha Gathbandhan” and Shivpal Yadav has said this was done in connivance with the Bharatiya Janata Party. Once an arch rival, Lalu Prasad is now related to Mulayam Singh’s family. The RJD chief has announced his party, which rules neighbouring Bihar, would not put up candidates in Uttar Pradesh.
After initial reluctance, Akhilesh Yadav has agreed to attend the event of November 5. At the same time, he is stacking up his supporters for the November 3 ‘Rath Yatra’. Two videos, shot by an American team of specialists, have already been aired, in an attempt to portray Akhilesh Yadav as a doting family man and a hard-working chief executive of the state.
Incidentally, neither his father nor his uncle figure anywhere in the two-odd films. His supporters, mostly all expelled from the party, have been burning the proverbial midnight oil to ensure that the Rath Yatra is not only a grand success but portrays the Chief Minister as the first choice of the people.
The Yatra is also aimed at trying to blunt the anti-incumbency against his government, tarred by communal riots, growing crime, breakdown of law and order and public infighting in his family, an aide admitted to IANS. Party veterans warn that many points remain unsettled in the Samajwadi Party between the warring factions.
These include the demand by Akhilesh Yadav and his supporters to expel from the party Amar Singh, a long-time confidant of Mulayam Singh. They also want the expulsion of Ram Gopal Yadav and young MLCs from the party to be revoked. And although Shivpal Yadav has sacked Ayodhya legislator and Minister of State for Forests Tej Narayan aka Pawan Pandey from the party, the Akhilesh Yadav supporter remains in the ministry. Political observers are waiting for Diwali to get over. With so much explosive stockpile in the first family and leaders in the ruling party, a post-Diwali blast is not being ruled out.