By backing Uttar Pradesh minister and his brother Shivpal Yadav, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Mulayam Singh Yadav has widened the faultlines of discord which already exist between members of the ‘first family of the party.’ Mulayam’s remarks at two recent but separate events in Lucknow have made it clear that groupism prevails in the party and the government in a battle for power.
In his speech on Monday, Mulayam, in no uncertain terms, sent out a warning to the government led by his son Akhilesh Yadav. Party sources said that it happened only because Shivpal for the first time in the last four years boldly targeted the functioning of the Akhilesh government, pointed at corruption within the ruling establishment and threatened to resign. Shivpal also said that he may not contest the forthcoming assembly elections.
Also for the first, time, Shivpal alleged that some SP workers and office bearers were involved in illegal land grabbing scams and harassment of the public – both of which were giving the party a bad name. Even more surprisingly, Shivpal released to the media a statement on his speech which included these remarks. These remarks can be seen in the context of the incident in Mathura on June 2 where two policemen were killed in cross firing by land grabbers. At the time, BJP national president Amit Shah had sought the resignation of Shivpal, accusing him of sheltering land grabbers. “By saying that some workers and office bearers were involved in land grabbing, Shivpal has tried to counter these allegations and accuse the Akhilesh government of not taking action against the culprits,” said an SP leader.
At the SP state headquarters on Monday, Mulayam stated that several ministers in the state government were involved in illegal money transactions. He added that the party could split into several factions and many workers would go with Shivpal if he left the party. Mulayam also said that Shivpal had been isolated and hence he wanted to resign.
Earlier, on August 5, the 84th birth anniversary of socialist ideologue Janeshwar Mishra, the SP president had asked workers to stop “grabbing land” or indulging in other such deeds. He went on to claim that he was better informed than Akhilesh of the latest developments in the state even though he was in Delhi. In a show of strength, Mulayam said that he alone will decide the candidates for the 2017 assembly elections.
“Workers and leaders are disappointed and are feeling ignored. The workers complain that they have not been able to meet the CM for months. Meet me, if the problems are genuine, I will get them resolved… If a worker is disappointed, it will weaken the party,” Mulayam had said.
It is well-known in government circles that ambitious IAS and IPS officers often seek Mulayam’s blessings to land prime postings.
“Whatever has happened within the party in past few months, that is demoralising for party workers. It is also going to divide workers in separate groups led by Mulayam, Akhilesh and Shivpal. The differences between family members over who holds power and the competition between them to project a clean and corruption free image is leading to all this chaos which can be fatal for the party ahead of 2017 polls,” said another SP leader.
Another party leader said that the feud within the family first come to light when Shivpal announced the merger of Quami Ekta Dal (QED) with the SP on the directives of Mulayam in June. Later, Mulayam called off the merger under pressure from Akhilesh who wanted the SP to keep its distance from Afzal’s brother Mukhtar. “When the QED president Ansari was an MP of the SP, then no one had any objection to the association with his brother Mukhtar Ansari. But now that SP called off merger only to built image of Akhilesh,” said an SP leader.