When the House adjourned for lunch on Monday, Mulayam Singh Yadav rose from his seat to head out, only to find nephews Dharmendra and Akshay ambling down the aisle and touching his feet. Behind them was daughter-in-law Dimple. To an onlooker, this made a happy family frame.
But this foursome is also the entire Samajwadi Party in Lok Sabha, down from 22 in the 15th Lok Sabha where it was the third largest party, and from 36 in the 14th House, its best showing till date.
Only Mulayam and his family made it this time — the SP leader gave up Mainpuri and retained Azamgarh, Dimple Yadav held on to Kannauj, Dharmendra Yadav to Badaun while 27-year-old Akshay Yadav, son of Ram Gopal Yadav, scored on debut from Firozabad.
Monday was one of those rare days this session when all four were seen chatting together, pointing at what appeared to be the list of business for the day which included discussions on the need to have stringent legislation to check atrocities against women and children, and the need to evolve an effective mechanism to tackle communal violence.
Last Friday, when Satyapal Singh, former Mumbai police chief and now BJP MP from Baghpat, drew the attention of the House on the need to correct the price fixation mechanism for sugarcane and began speaking on the situation in Uttar Pradesh, Dimple looked around. Her husband’s government was being targeted and her father-in-law, brothers-in-law were not around to counter the charges. So she took quiet notes as the BJP MP went on.
A day earlier, while speaking on rising crimes against women and children, she was repeatedly obstructed by the BJP when she said Uttar Pradesh had launched a women’s power helpline. Anurag Singh Thakur and she had an exchange which prompted the Speaker to say “no cross-talk please, you address the chair, this is not going on record”.
Dimple made a spirited defence of the UP government: “This has worked in UP. The number of complaints that were registered were 2,46,110. Of this, 2,15,240 cases were solved.” She quoted Robert Frost to underline that “all of us here have promises to keep”.
But father-in-law Mulayam Singh Yadav no longer appears to be his feisty self. There was a brief glimpse though when on July 15, he led a walkout over the failure of the House to condemn Israeli strikes on Gaza. He cuts a rather lonely figure, sharing his front-row seat with BJD’s Bhartruhari Mahtab who sits to his left. Across the aisle to his right is AIADMK’s M Thambidurai. On most days, continued…
The shop had stored over 20 drums of kerosene that fuelled the blaze and it quickly spread through the entire building.