Akhilesh Yadav, the former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, will have to now officially contend with father Mulayam Singh as a political opponent. A new outfit, headed by Mulayam Singh, is being formed, claimed the 77-year-old’s younger brother, Shivpal Yadav today.
Described as a “secular front,’ it will be called Samajwadi Secular Morcha, said Shivpal Yadav, who is seen as a primary reason for the estrangement that engulfed Akhilesh and Mulayam Singh ahead of the election in Uttar Pradesh, which their Samajwadi Party lost big-time to the BJP.
Akhilesh Yadav did not comment on his father being named to head a rival front, only saying that he welcomes more “secular politics,” and adding, “I don’t know what shape this will take. As for the Samajwadi Party, it has passed every test and will continue to do so.”
When they should have been focusing on campaigning, the Yadavs lavished time and attention to their dispute. Akhilesh Yadav, 44, felt his father was being misled by Shivpal Yadav and that together, they were plotting to exclude him from crucial decisions like selecting candidates for the election.
At a meeting in January, attended by thousands of party workers in Lucknow, Akhilesh and Shivpal Yadav expressed unequivocal contempt for each other. Akhilesh Yadav then wrested control of the Samajwadi Party, replacing his father as President, a decision which was not welcomed by the patriarch.
Though Mulayam Singh went on to campaign for the Samajwadi Party, it was reported that Shivpal Yadav covertly supported BJP candidates running against those chosen by Akhilesh Yadav.
Akhilesh Yadav also defied his father’s wishes to sign an ill-fated alliance with Rahul Gandhi and the Congress, a partnership which was rejected by voters.
Shivpal Yadav has blamed Akhilesh Yadav for the Samajwadi Party’s humiliating defeat and said earlier this week that he would launch a new party if he did not reinstate his father at the head of the party.
When he took over as SP chief Akhilesh had promised to return the post to his father after the UP elections.