Samajwadi Party President Mulayam Singh Yadav’s recent outburst against Akhilesh Yadav’s ministers-saying they were amassing wealth-is not new. However, senior SP leaders try to evade the issue by saying it is merely fatherly advice from the party supremo to his son.
Clearly though, Mulayam statements which have put Akhilesh in tight spot several times are more than parental advice. The SP leaders claim that Mulayam is only speaking from the heart is also unconvincing as a shrewd politician like Mulayam knows only too well the implications of his statements.
Targeting Akhilesh’s ministers is a well-planned strategy by Mulayam. He understands that the ministers have failed to deliver. With hardly a year left before assembly polls, Mulayam knows that the poor performance of these ministers will reflect on his son Akhilesh. In addition, the ministers have reportedly annoyed party workers in their districts.
Mulayam’s strategy is to deflate the importance of the ministers. His statements against the ministers are welcomed by party workers who are reassured of their importance and the message trickles down to district levels where workers greet such statements as a morale boaster. Some ministers have encouraged infighting in district units and the SP faces opposition from within its own leadership.
Mulayam is also preparing the ground to deny tickets to many ministers in the forthcoming assembly polls. Last December, eight ministers were sacked and nine lost their portfolios. Mulayam also reasserts his authority in the party that although he is not chief minister, his word is final.
By his outburst, Mulayam aligns himself with party workers who are disgruntled with the Akhilesh government. It is a simple rule adopted by him-workers may be against SP government but will remain with SP. Mulayam’s criticism also handles the internal tussle within his family. Mulayam deftly targets ministers and officials knowing very well of their connections with members of his family.