Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle and party MLA Shivpal Yadav on Friday announced that party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav will head a proposed Secular Front, increasing troubles for Akhilesh and adding hurdles in the way of proposed opposition unity.
The nature and role of the Secular Front has not been described by Shivpal and it remains uncertain whether it would be registered as a political party, remain an umbrella body for political outfits or just be a breakaway faction of SP. For now, the announcement is being seen as another attempt by Shivpal-led faction of Mulayam’s family and the SP rehabilitate themselves in the SP to a time when Mulayam was president.
Ever since the SP lost the assembly elections, Shivpal has been demanding that Akhilesh should step down and hand over the party’s reins to Mulayam. Recently, SP general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav, a key member of the Akhilesh group, had rejected Shivpal’s demand asking him to start working as a party worker.
Mulayam’s younger son Prateek and his politician wife Aparna had met Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath soon after he was elected CM. The couple had also taken Adityanath on a tour of a cow shelter in Lucknow. Later, Aparna praised the new CM’s government and called him her brother.
Akhilesh’s total control on the party has left a section of his family dissatisfied. The new outfit could be their attempt to regain lost political importance. However, its fate remains uncertain as Mulayam has not given any indication of a direct confrontation with Akhilesh and remains susceptible to last-minute change in plans.
If the new outfit is formed, Akhilesh could face more problems as a section of party leaders, who have remained sidelined under him, could join Shivpal. It could dent the party’s chances in the coming urban local bodies elections which the party is contesting on its symbol.
Also, this would complicate the situation for Akhilesh in taking decisions about future alliances and hurt the Opposition in the coming presidential election. The SP has 47 MLAs, 18 Rajya Sabha members and five Lok Sabha members who will cast votes in presidential election. A section of them are still loyal to Mulayam, himself a Lok Sabha member.