five-year-old feud within Uttar Pradesh’s influential Yadav family finally ended on Thursday with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav announcing an alliance with his estranged uncle Shivpal Yadav for the upcoming state polls.
Akhilesh drove to Shivpal’s residence in Lucknow and later tweeted a photo with his uncle, who left the SP and formed the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia (PSP-L) in 2019.
”Met PSP-L national president and the alliance has been decided. The policy of taking along regional parties has continuously strengthened Samajwadi Party and taking the SP and alliance partners towards historic victory,” said Akhilesh.
Later in the day, Shivpal also tweeted the picture of the two. ”Today the Samajwadi Party national president Akhilesh Yadav ji had a courtesy meeting with me at (my) residence. During the meeting, I had a long discussion with him over the strategy of contesting the forthcoming assembly elections 2022 together,” he said.
This is the sixth alliance forged by the SP, which is aiming to dislodge the Bharatiya Janata Party from power in Uttar Pradesh in elections scheduled early next year. On November 3, Akhilesh had hinted about an alliance with PSP-L at his ancestral village Saifai in Etawah district of UP. Shivpal, the younger brother of Akhilesh’s father and SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, was considered a top leader of the SP and served as a senior minister when Akhilesh was chief minister between 2012 and 2017.
But the two leaders had a bitter fallout over control of the party before the 2017 assembly elections. Beginning August 2016, both leaders hurled verbal barbs at each other for months, eventually leading to more dissension in the party and its poor performance in the 2017 assembly elections, when it was routed from everywhere except its pocket boroughs in central UP.
Shivpal floated the PSP-L before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He contested against SP candidate and then sitting MP Akshay Yadav from Firozabad. However, both lost as the BJP wrested the seat from the SP. Shivpal has had limited electoral success but continues to wield influence in districts like Etawah, Mainpuri, Forozabad, Agra and Mathura.
On Thursday, as the two leaders came together, hundreds of supporters of both parties gathered outside Shivpal’s residence, raising the slogan “chacha bhatija zindabad (long live the uncle and nephew)”.
“This is a happy and positive political development. This will strengthen the anti-BJP forces and consolidate the Lohiawadi and socialist movement in the country. Shivpalji had always been trying for this alliance for removal of the BJP,” said Deepak Mishra, a PSP-L leader.
Samajwadi Party state spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said “Akhilesh Yadav ji is allying with small, regional parties. And SP will form the next government”.