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Akhilesh gains upper hand in power struggle

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith chocked throat and moist eyes, Mulayam Singh Yadav appeared on TV worried about his son’s future in unwanted people’s hand. He appears isolated and his son Akhilesh Yadav gains upper hand in the ugly battle for political supremacy. Having anointed himself the party’s National President, in a dramatic coup against his wrestler-turned-politician father, the 43-year-old Akhilesh Yadav is in full control of the party. It is high time; Mulayam Singh Yadav should resign from politics and enjoy his retired life. He might have worked for the party but not with sufficient base and space. Junior Yadav who consolidated his position since last two years, even Shivpal Yadav should not have gone aggressive.

Akhilesh and Mulayam camps of the Samajwadi Party are trying to find out ways to stay united. Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brother Shivpal Yadav held a brief meeting with Akhilesh Yadav at Chief Minister’s residence. The meeting between Shivpal and Akhilesh lasted for just few minutes. Shivpal reached Mulayam Singh Yadav’s residence after the meeting. Mulayam-Shivpal loyalist Samajwadi Party MLA Gayatri Prajapati also reached his residence.

Amar Singh also made it to senior Yadav’s residence in Lucknow as the two factions held talks to find any scope of a cease-fire.

Recently, Election Commission asked father–son duo to reply by January 9 in support of their respective claims for the Samajwadi Party’s poll symbol. After sometime, senior minister in Akhilesh Yadav government, Azam Khan- who has emerged as one of the key mediators between father and son in the party – held talks. What transpired during the talks was not made public by either side, but the tamasha went on and finally the bank accounts of Samajwadi party were sealed by Akhilesh camp.

Mulayam Singh Yadav served as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh from 1989 to 1991, from 1993 to 1995, and from 2003 to 2007. He also served as the Defence Minister of India from 1996 to 1998 in the United Front government. Currently, he serves in the Lok Sabha representing Azamgarh. Mulayam has gained several degrees — a B.A., B.T. and an M.A. in political science, he is very well educated politician. Yadav married twice. His first wife Malti Devi died in May 2003. Yadav’s second wife is Sadhna Gupta Yadav. Sadhna was not well-known until February 2007, when the relationship was admitted in India’s Supreme Court. Sadhna and Mulayam have a son named Prateek Yadav (born 1988). Prateek manages land holdings of the Yadav family.

Mulayam is groomed by mass leaders like Ram Manohar Lohia and Raj Narain. Yadav was first elected as a MLA in Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh in 1967. Interestingly, it was the Indian socialist icon Raj Narain who also inaugurated the first election campaign of Mulayam Singh Yadav in 1967 assembly elections. Yadav served eight terms there. He first became a state minister in 1977. Later, in 1980, he became the president of the Lok Dal in Uttar Pradesh which became a part of the Janata Dal afterwards. In 1982, he was elected leader of the opposition in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council and held that post until 1985. After the collapse of the V P Singh government at the centre in November 1990, Yadav joined Chandra Shekhar’s Janata Dal (Socialist) party and continued in office as chief minister with the support of the Congress Party. His government fell, when the Congress withdrew support to his government in April 1991 in reaction to the aftermath of developments at the centre, wherein the Congress party withdrew support to Chandra Shekhar’s government. Mid-term elections to Uttar Pradesh assembly were held in mid-1991, in which Mulayam Singh’s party lost power to the BJP.

In 1992, Yadav founded his own Samajwadi Party. In 1993, he allied with the Bahujan Samaj Party for the elections to Uttar Pradesh assembly due to be held in November 1993. The alliance between Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party prevented the return of BJP to power in the state. His stand on movement for demanding separate statehood for Uttarakhand was as much controversial as his stand on Ayodhya movement in 1990 was. There was a firing on Uttarakhand activists at Muzaffarnagar on 2 October 1994, something for which they held him responsible. He continued holding that post until his ally opted into another alliance in June 1998.

Yadav and other members of the SP were criticised for conducting a festival during a crisis following riots in Muzzafarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. He and his party formed a pre-poll alliance for the 2014 General Election that involved ten other parties. He was elected as a member of the 16th Lok Sabha in those elections from two constituencies – Azamgarh and Mainpuri – and subsequently resigned the latter seat. The only other successful SP candidates in the election were relatives of Yadav: his daughter-in-law, Dimple Yadav, and his nephews Dharmendra Yadav, Akshay Yadav and Tej Pratap Singh Yadav.

Since Akhilesh Yadav became Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the Yadav family has been divided into two feuding groups. One of the groups is led by Akhilesh Yadav with the support of his father’s cousin, Ram Gopal Yadav. The rival group is led by Mulayam Singh and supported by his brother Shivpal Yadav and a friend, Amar Singh. Akhilesh Yadav has fired his uncle twice from his cabinet as it was seen by many as a direct challenge to his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, who has steadily supported his younger brother Shivpal over him. On 30 December 2016, Mulayam Yadav expelled his son Akhilesh and his cousin Ram Gopal from the party for six years on the grounds of indiscipline, only to revoke 24 hours later. He was named the chief patron of the party following the national convention of the party on 1 January 2017. He termed the national convention as illegal and expelled his cousin Ram Gopal Yadav, who had convened the national executive convention.

Now, SP finds itself in a dramatic situation. The party seems divided and is ironically headed by two presidents. Akhilesh Yadav and his father both are representing themselves as party presidents. However, the constitution of the party categorically states that any convention can only be called by its president and if another member wants a convention to be called, he has to collect the signatures of 40 per cent members and submit it to the national president. If the president then fails to call the convention that individual member may call for the convention. In this case however, Akhilesh’s faction has acted against party constitution and technically Mulayam Singh Yadav is still the party president. Let’s see what happens next.

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Dr. Vaidehi Taman
Dr. Vaidehi is an Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and an Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. Since 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond the news (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which she caters for her sister-concern Kaizen-India Infosec Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

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