There is reason to cheer the uncle-nephew fight in the Samajwadi Party. What makes it exceptional is that disagreements within the family that control a party rarely plays out in the open: The patriarch mediates among warring family members and declares a truce. In this case, Mulayam Singh Yadav, head honcho of the SP, allowed the fight between his brother and son to spill over into public platforms and took sides, interestingly, in favour of his brother. The brother, Shivpal Yadav, having demonstrated that he has the confidence of Mulayam, has now refused to be drawn into a fight with his nephew and UP chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav.
Akhilesh had taken key portfolios from Shivpal after Mulayam made his brother the SP’s UP unit chief. That’s the CM’s prerogative, Shivpal told the media on Thursday. With less than six months left for assembly elections, Shivpal will hold the key to ticket distribution. The raucous debate in the SP may seem a family matter, but when family alone matters in the running of the party, such events, in full public view with rare transparency, become refreshing and liberating. It may even encourage dissenters in other parties to open up.