A reconciliatory move by Akhilesh Yadav

By Prerna Mukherjee

The fight for power and control over Samajwadi Party (SP) seems to be ceasing in the Yadav clan. This comes after the SP national president Akhilesh Yadav met his father and founder of the party Mulayam Singh Yadav at his residence in Lucknow, just days before the party’s national executive meet in Agra.

Bitterness in the party

Mulayam Singh founded the Samajwadi Party over 25 years ago. However, a few years ago, there was a paradigm shift in time and politics which led to the sidelining of Mulayam Singh with his son holding the major power as the chief minister. Due to the change in the power play of the party, Mulayam Singh did not participate in the 2017 UP elections. Following this, Akhilesh Yadav suffered a massive loss at the hands of BJP.

With the recent developments and the change in the party dynamics, the relations have grown to be worse. This was often substantiated with public takedowns of Akhilesh Yadav by his father. Both Mulayam Singh Yadav and his younger brother and Akhilesh’s bitter rival Shivpal Yadav had pointedly stayed away from a recent Samajwadi Party meeting, saying they were not invited.

Reunion of father-son

The meeting between the father-son duo on Thursday lasted more than half an hour. Akhilesh has now invited Mulayam to attend the executive meeting scheduled to be held in the historic city of Agra on October 5, 2017. This meeting is politically significant as the feud in the SP’s first family is far from over. Further, there has been no let-up in the feud between Akhilesh and his uncle Shivpal Yadav.

The meeting between Akhilesh and Mulayam Singh has now sparked a new row and is seen by many as a sign of a truce between the two. A few days back Mulayam Singh had called a press conference. It was speculated that he might part his ways with his son and form a new political outfit with his younger brother and arch-rival of Akhilesh, Shivpal Singh Yadav. However, to everyone’s surprise, Mulayam chose not to form any new political party and said instead that his blessings are always with his son.

Power tussle in the house

Shivpal Yadav had announced in June this year that he would float the Samajwadi Secular Front “to fight communal forces”. The power tussle in the Yadav clan cost them dearly in the state assembly elections this year as Mulayam Singh decided to stay away from the party activities. On the other hand, since taking over as National President and winning the party symbol ‘bicycle’, Akhilesh Yadav has been making his grip stronger with each passing day.

Akhilesh Yadav has managed to wean away veteran socialists of the Mulayam era into his fold. Be it Kiranmoy Nanda, Ahmed Hassan, Reoti Raman Singh or Naresh Agarwal, they all wanted to make Akhilesh the president and elevate Mulayam to the nominal position of a patron. Mulayam and his brother Shivpal were stunned by this overnight rebellion. Though they fought back to regain control, through legal as well as political moves, Akhilesh remained firmly saddled as the SP chief. The family feud also cost them the 2017 UP assembly polls.

The events of the last week, however, have shown some signs that the ageing patriarch is finally accepting Akhilesh as a leader. The October 5 national executive meet in Agra would shed light on where the father-son relationship is headed.

Featured Image Source: Al Jazeera English via Visual hunt / CC BY-SA