After a nearly five-year feud, Shivpal Yadav joined hands with nephew Akhilesh ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. The uncle, who is upset again, met Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, sparking speculation that he might join the BJP
The relationship between Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Shivpal is a contentious one. In January 2022, all looked fine in the family, as the nephew and uncle met to announce an alliance ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
But ties one broken are difficult to mend. The Samajwadi Party lost the election and now uncle Shivpal is all set to break the alliance, according to media reports. Shivpal Yadav, the younger brother of Akhilesh’s father and Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, has been upset with his nephew for days. His meeting with UP chief minister Yogi Adiyanath has triggered speculation that he is likely to join hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The family feud can be traced back to 2017. We take a look at the see-saw ties between the two Yadavs.
Meeting Yogi Adityanath
Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party Lohia (PSPL) chief Shivpal Yadav met Adityanath on Wednesday for 20 minutes at the CM’s residence. It set UP’s political circles abuzz, as Shivpal met the chief minister after slamming the SP for not inviting him to a legislature party meeting earlier in the week.
At the SP gathering, Akhilesh was elected as the party leader.
Akhilesh had reportedly invited Shivpal for a meeting at the SP office on 29 March, which the uncle skipped.
Shivpal has said nothing about his conversations with Adityanath; the PSPL called it a “mere courtesy” visit.
Today, on 31 March, Shivpal met with his core party members but refused to divulge details. “Ït is not an appropriate time to say anything. I would also like to appeal to my party workers to not get worried,” he said while talking to reports. Denying rumours about meeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Shivpal said that Thursday’s meet was to discuss the party’s strategy.
But sources close to the PSPL chief told News18 that he is likely to make a big announcement soon. There’s a likelihood that the BJP may send Shivpal Yadav to Rajya Sabha and his son Aditya may contest from his Jaswantnagar seat.
Looks like another break-up is on the cards. Didn’t they just patch up?
An alliance before the polls
In January 2022, Akhilesh and Shivpal decided to bury the hatchet, almost five years after the family spat left the Samajwadi Party divided. Ahead of the UP elections, they allied to consolidate the Yadav vote bank.
Akhilesh visited his uncle, who lives half a kilometer away, and reportedly touched his feet. The plan was to work out a joint poll strategy to take on the BJP in the state. According to a report in The Indian Express, Shivpal hoped to get the same respect in the alliance that he enjoyed before breaking away from the SP.
Things, of course, did not go as decided. The BJP emerged as the winning party in UP and Shivpal continued to feel sidelined in the SP.
The uncle-nephew relationship started souring after the election results. Shivpal met Akhilesh before Adityanath’s swearing-in on 24 March, asking for a bigger role in the party. The uncle was reminded by the SP president that he does not belong to the party and is an ally, reports LiveNews360.
Does this mean the duo is back to where they were in 2016?
The big split
Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav desalinated powers when he sent his son Akhilesh to the Lok Sabha in 2000. He retained his brother Shivpal in state politics, as he was elected to the state assembly in 1996. However, in 2012, after Mulayam picked his son as chief minister, it laid the ground for personal differences to grow.
Shivpal and Akhilesh rarely saw eye to eye and their ties further deteriorated in 2016. The family feud cost Shivpal to Number 2 position in the SP and Akhilesh dismissed his uncle from his Cabinet.
Ahead of the 2017 Assembly polls, his name was dropped from the party’s list of star campaigners. His son Aditya Yadav was ignored.
Shivpal had no say in the distribution of tickets and found himself increasingly powerless.
He won the 2017 Assembly polls on the SP symbol from Jaswantnagar in Etawah district but the party lost. It bagged only 47 seats, its lowest tally since its inception in 1992.
Shivpal later floated the PSPL in August 2018. The Yadavs have failed to really reconcile since.
“If the family is united, everything will be well,” Shivpal had said in 2017.
In retrospect, it sounds like a prophecy. The SP has not been able to gain the dominance it once did in Uttar Pradesh.
With inputs from agencies