Lucknow , Nov 21 (PTI): Samajwadi party chief Akhilesh Yadav sharing a stage with his uncle and Pragatisheel Samajwadi party (Lohiya) leader Shivpal Singh Yadav in family bastion Saifai to canvass for Dimple Yadav has made party workers confident about their victory in the Mainpuri Lok Sabha bypoll.
In a show of bonhomie, the SP chief on Sunday touched the feet of his uncle at the rally and asserted that there has never been any strain in their relationship. Shivpal Yadav termed the bypolls, necessitated by the death of Mulayam Singh Yadav, a “high-stake contest” and told the audience that the family has become one.
Local leaders of the party said a series of meetings between Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav have been scheduled in Mainpuri from Monday. The entire Yadav family will join to celebrate the birth anniversary of Mulayam Singh Yadav in their native Safai village on Tuesday, sources said.
Samajwadi Party leader and former MLC Rajpal Kashyap said, “Mainpuri is the traditional seat of Mulayam Singh Yadav. There was no doubt about the SP candidate’s victory with Shivipal ‘chacha’ openly supporting the party. The entire family is united for the victory of Dimple Yadav. We will win easily.”
The Samajwadi party chief’s wife Dimple Yadav has been fielded for the Mainpuri Lok Sabha bypoll. It is said in Uttar Pradesh’s political circles that the BJP has fielded Raghuraj Shakya, who was once a close associate of Shivpal Yadav, in the hope to cash in on the “strain” in the relationship of Akhilesh Yadav with his uncle. But the ‘chacha-bhatija’ seemingly patching up, has poured cold water on the BJP’s apparent plan.
The relationship between uncle and nephew had gone sour in 2016 with the sacking of Shivpal Singh Yadav, who was then a state minister, by Akhilesh Yadav when he was the CM. They parted ways in 2017 when Akhilesh Yadav became the Samajwadi Party president.
Shivpal Singh Yadav formed Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohiya) in 2018.
The duo joined hands before the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, but after that their relationship again went sour with the latter alleging neglect within the party.
Since Shivpal Singh Yadav parted ways with the SP, there were rumours that he might be joining the BJP. Though he denied it every time, the allotment of a bungalow for his party by the BJP government fuelled speculations.
After Mulayam Singh Yadav’s younger daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav, considered close to the Shivpal Singh Yadav camp, joined BJP, speculations went rife about his closeness to the ruling party. Even after the Mainpuri bypoll was declared, some news reports suggested that it was Shivpal Singh Yadav who ensured a BJP ticket for his one-time close associate Raghuraj Shakya.
During the election meeting in Saifai, Akhilesh Yadav said, “At times people say there is ‘dooriyaan’ (distance). There was no ‘dooriyaan’ between ‘chacha’ (uncle) and ‘bhatija’ (nephew). ‘Dooriyaan’ was there in politics.”
“I had never considered any ‘dooriyaan’ between uncle and nephew. And, I am happy that today the ‘dooriyaan’ in politics has also ended,” he said to a rousing applause from the public.
The reunion process began after Shivpal Yadav’s name was declared by the SP as its star campaigner for Mainpuri and the latter asked his party workers to ensure a victory for Dimple Yadav. It was followed by a meeting of both Akhilesh Yadav and his wife Dimple with Shivpal Yadav seeking his blessings.
Former MLC Anand Bhadauria said, “We were confident of the victory but now it will be a record one. The people of Mainpuri and Etawah always stood with ‘Netaji’ and after his death, they are with Dimple Yadav.”
Samajwadi party leader Deepak Ranjan said the work done for the region by Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav as CM and Shivpal Yadav is known to all. “What people want is development and they believe that the SP candidate is a perfect choice,” he added.
The Mainpuri parliamentary constituency has five assembly segments — Mainpuri, Bhongaon, Kishni, Karhal and Jaswant Nagar.
In the 2022 assembly elections, the Samajwadi party won the Karhal, Kishni and Jaswantnagar seats, while the BJP won the Mainpuri and the Bhogaon seats.
Akhilesh Yadav is an MLA from Karhal while Shivpal Yadav represents Jawantnagar in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative assembly.