UP election: Will Akhilesh Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav split Samajwadi Party?

In Hindu mythology, fratricide ruined the grandeur and clan of Yaduvanshis (Yadavas) after the death of Lord Krishna. One may have reasonable doubt about the veracity of this myth, but there is little doubt that in Uttar Pradesh, the Mulayam Singh Yadav clan is the most powerful family after Lord Krishna and his descendants.

As Mulayam has been growing old, he is coming closer to the mythological fate of his clan. Look at the manner in which UP chief secretary Deepak Singhal was sacked while on his way to Noida authority to sign a deal. He was informed on the telephone about his removal as the state’s top bureaucrat.

File image of Akhilesh and Mulayam Singh Yadav. PTI

File image of Akhilesh and Mulayam Singh Yadav. PTI

Obviously Singhal was not selected on the basis of his merit. He was chosen as he was perceived closer to Mulayam’s brother and a minister in the Akhilesh Yadav cabinet, Shivpal Yadav. Quick retribution followed as Mulayam replaced Akhilesh with Shivpal as the party’s state unit chief — a post quite critical to Assembly election scheduled next year. Akhilesh retaliated in kind by divesting Shivpal of all important portfolios except one.

Those conversant with the politics of the country’s largest state are aware of the fault lines that exist in the Yadav clan. Shivpal and Ram Gopal, another brother of Mulayam, run parallel and hostile camps. Akhilesh is perceived to be closer to Ram Gopal, who seems to have lost clout with Mulayam, referred to by his followers as “Netaji”.

In fact, trouble began when Shivpal took a unilateral decision with the blessing of Mulayam to join hands with dreaded gangster of eastern UP Mukhtar Ansari and his brother Afzal Ansari. Akhilesh torpedoed the decision by making it clear that he was averse to co-opt those with a criminal past in the party. Shivpal found Akhilesh’s decision too insulting and complained to his elder brother. This prompted Mulayam to publicly reprimand Akhilesh and ask him to mend his ways.

However, the sequence of events in the past clearly showed that the family feud has exacerbated and reached an alarming level. Given the fact that Mulayam still controls the party and commands respect among his followers, there is a strong possibility that the skeletons within the Yadav family’s closet will remain covered for the time being. The family patriarch will prevail over and impose his will on his siblings and progeny to bury the hatchet for the larger interests of the family.

But the question arises: Would such a situation bring relief to people of the state? It is quite likely that Mulayam will force Akhilesh to kiss and make up with his estranged uncle Shivpal in a public demonstration of filial loyalties. That Akhilesh draws his strength from the fact that he is a chip off the old block will deter him from going against his father beyond a point.

But the sordid family drama being played out in Uttar Pradesh is a grim reminder that the state has been pushed inexorably into a precipice of governance by a family that is being pulled in different directions by vested interests. And herein lies the tragedy in rise and fall of Mualayam. A former wrestler-turned-politician from Saifai village of Etawah, Mulayam was called "dhartiputra" (son of the soil) and not without reason. He is known to keep his ear to the ground and has built up his political capital in over four decades of sheer grit, determination and hard work.

As Mulayam has been growing old, he is coming closer to the mythological fate of his clan

Although not averse to keeping the company of dubious people, Mulayam’s first term as chief minister was quite efficient. Bureaucrats who worked with him during those times still recall a leader who was efficient and quick decision-maker. As Mulayam’s stature grew, his hard-earned political capital became the preserve of his family members. The ongoing fratricidal war within the Yadav clan is now threatening to be the undoing of the political capital that Mulayam has so assiduously built.

Updated Date: Sep 14, 2016 11:18 AM

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