Updated: December 17, 2021 2:08:48 am
Five years after a family feud led to their parting of ways, and formation of a new party – Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia), Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday met uncle Shivpal Yadav at the latter’s residence in Lucknow and announced that they will contest UP Assembly elections together.
The two leaders formally to draw a common poll strategy almost five years after a tussle for supremacy in Samajwadi Party (SP) kicked off the feud that split SP, with Shivpal forming PSP (Lohia).
On Thursday, Akhilesh reached his uncle’s residence, barely 400 metres from his own in Lucknow’s Vikramaditya Marg, and is learnt to have touched Shivpal’s feet and sought his blessings. Akhilesh was there for approximately an hour and the two leaders had a 20-minute closed-door meeting, it is learnt.
प्रसपा के राष्ट्रीय अध्यक्ष जी से मुलाक़ात हुई और गठबंधन की बात तय हुई।
— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) December 16, 2021
After the meeting, Akhilesh tweeted a photograph with Shivpal and wrote in Hindi: “Had a meeting with PSP national president and decided to form an alliance. The policy of taking regional parties along is strengthening the Samajwadi Party, and SP and its allies are heading towards a historic victory.”
Shivpal, a five-term MLA, had contested 2017 Assembly polls on SP symbol and was elected from Jaswantnagar in Etawah district.
In the past year, as both Akhilesh and Shivpal began preparations for the forthcoming Assembly polls, there were reports of a possible merger of PSP (Lohia) with SP. On some occasions, Shivpal had even hinted that he was ready for an alliance but blamed a “delay in response” from Akhilesh’s side.
Shivpal was a Cabinet minister in the previous Akhilesh government and was considered the second-most powerful minister.
On September 13, 2016, the turf war in SP deepened after Akhilesh, as chief minister, divested Shivpal of all ministerial portfolios. This came after Shivpal replaced him as SP state unit president on the direction of party founder and patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Ties to shore up support
Shivpal’s appointment as the state unit chief had increased his role in party decisions ahead of the 2017 elections. On December 30, 2016, the family feud reached a tipping point, and Mulayam expelled Akhilesh and SP general secretary Ramgopal Yadav from the party for six years on charges of “gross indiscipline”.
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