LUCKNOW: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav along with his wife Dimple meeting estranged uncle Shivpal Yadav in Saifai on Thursday has generated a lot of curiosity in the political circles.
One question that is riding high on minds of SP’s rivals and political observers alike is if the newfound bonhomie between Akhilesh and Shivpal will survive the test of time.
Political analysts see an uncanny resemblance in what happened in the Yadav clan at Saifai on Thursday and the sequence of events that unfolded in the run-up to the 2022 Assembly polls in UP and are skeptical if the two developments will end on a similar unsavoury note where the two had parted ways.
This is not the first time that the two are swearing to watch each other’s back in the elections. They have a history of taking potshots at each other. Only time will tell if the two will be able to stay together till the 2024 polls, say political observers.
Like the Thursday meeting, where Akhilesh and Dimple called on Shivpal at the latter’s Saifai residence in the run-up to the Mainpuri Lok Sabha bypoll, the 2022 meeting was held at Shivpal’s Lucknow residence when Akhilesh called on him in the run-up to the Assembly polls. The Yadav clan contested elections putting up a united face. But months after the BJP government was sworn in for the second consecutive time, the Chacha-Bhatija parted ways. Political observers are now keenly watching if the newfound love between Shivpal and Akhilesh will have a happy ending or not.
Party insiders, however, insist that this time the coming together of Akhilesh and Shivpal was likely to last. “Now, we understand better how the BJP operates and we have found a solution to it,” said a senior SP leader adding that this was just the beginning and the 2024 Lok Sabha polls will witness the ‘return of a united SP’ in a big way.
The BJP was, however, unwilling to look at the development as anything beyond optics in wake of the bypoll and described the coming together of chacha-bhatija as “opportunistic” and only for the Mainpuri bypoll. BJP state president Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary said it was the fear of BJP sweeping the Mainpuri bypoll that the SP made Shivpal their star campaigner for the elections. Senior BJP leader Sidharthnath Singh said every time there is an election, the SP leadership suddenly remembers Shivpal and reaches out to him.
Former SP ally – Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) – also took a dig at the coming together of Shivpal and Akhilesh. SBSP national spokesperson Arun Rajbhar took to Twitter to question if the chacha-bhatija meeting would have been possible had it not been for the Mainpuri bypoll. He tweeted the July 27 office memo that SP had issued to Shivpal saying that he was free to side with those who were willing to give him more respect and honour. The memo was issued in wake of Shivpal’s meeting with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ahead of the Presidential polls.
Shivpal and Akhilesh had parted ways for the first in the run-up to the 2017 Assembly polls during the bitter battle for supremacy within the Samajwadi Party’s first family. Shivpal contested the Assembly elections on an SP ticket and maintained his winning streak in the Jaswantnagar seat – an important assembly segment of Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency. Things got worse when Shivpal floated his own political outfit – Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party–Lohia (PSP-L) and the two parted ways for all practical purposes. The two got together in 2022 but again parted ways months later.

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