Observing the political scenario of Uttar Pradesh from someone outside the state is very fascinating. The plot changes so quick, the experience is akin to watching a typical Bollywood (Prakash Jha-type) film. UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his arch rival Mayawati are at the same crossroads. With state Assembly polls slated for next February, both leaders are firefighting issues within the parties.
Akhilesh’s uncle, cabinet minister Shivpal Yadav, was complicit in facilitating a merger on Tuesday with Quami Ekta Dal (QED). Mukhtar Ansari, QED’s founder is currently lodged in the jail for his alleged involvement in the murder of a BJP MLA. But the merger happened without the CM’s knowledge, while he was away on a district tour.
Shivpal has reiterated that it was done with a nod from the Samajwadi Party chief, Akhilesh’s father Mulayam Yadav. Why was then the CM kept out of the plan? Does the son have issues with what his father and the clan of uncles decide for the party? But such a stance will prove detrimental to the functioning of the SP and the government as a whole.
How would SP justify the joyous merger that took place in the absence of CM at the party headquarters in Lucknow? While Afzal Ansari, president of QED talked about being a secular party and consolidating votes, Akhilesh’s uncle Shivpal described as ‘homecoming’ of the QED.
Of course Akhilesh Yadav was livid with the ‘unholy’ union with QED, and the moment he was back from his tour on Tuesday, he sacked Balram Yadav, a cabinet minister and a friend of Mulayam Singh for working on the alliance. The CM has been trying to distance SP from all sorts of mafia and criminals to put up a clean image in the upcoming polls. It’s clear he won’t let party veterans ruin his plans to clean up SP.
A bemused Akhilesh Yadav told TV reporters post the merger: “If party workers perform their responsibilities, then there was no need of another party.” That’s how he feels for SP.
However, no matter how much Akhilesh Yadav tries to steer clear of the previous ‘goondaraj’ tag, seasoned politicians within the party, including his father Mulayam Yadav see alliances differently. The SP supremo is doing everything in his power to get more people into the boat to consolidate vote banks. It’s well-known that the QED has a major influence among the Muslim masses in UP.
Meanwhile, another interesting development was unfolding in the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) camp. Swami Prasad Maurya, leader of Opposition in the UP Assembly and Mayawati-led BSP’s national general secretary, resigned from his party. The timing of his exit raised eyebrows. In BSP’s history, nobody has ever resigned; they have always been sacked by Mayawati.
Maurya left Mayawati red-faced, accusing the BSP supremo of auctioning party tickets. Not one to lie low, 15 minutes after Maurya’s exit, Mayawati called for a press meet and countered the allegations, saying she would have anyways sacked the leader, because he was asking tickets for his son.
The dot connected within 24 hours, when news flashed that Maurya has joined SP, and Akhilesh Yadav announced for cabinet expansion on June 27. The seventh expansion during Akhilesh’s four-and-a-half-year-old tenure, the upcoming event will formally induct Maurya, along with his son into SP. After all, Mayawati’s accusations were not false.
The battle just got heated up in Uttar Pradesh. And we will watch how the next turn of events change the course of SP, BSP and BJP.