Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (PSP) leader Shivpal Singh Yadav’s call for unification for the 2022 UP Assembly elections has not enthused Samajwadi Party leaders, who say that any decision will be taken by party chief Akhilesh Yadav.
Shivpal Yadav’s estranged relations with his nephew Akhilesh Yadav led to a split in the party. However, Shivpal Yadav on Sunday reiterated his call for all Samajwadi leaders to unite again, saying he was “willing to sacrifice everything”. “Based on the decision of the people, we will fight the 2022 elections,” he said.
But the Samajwadi Party said that the matter would only be decided by the party President in time as more than 18 months are left for the UP elections. However, sources say, the SP leader is of the view of leaving the lone seat of Jaswant Nagar to Shivpal Singh Yadav, who is the sitting MLA from the constituency.
The PSP, which was founded with much fanfare, has units all across the state but is not as firm on the ground, as the Samajwadi Party is, in UP politics.
Shivpal Yadav had launched the PSP (Lohia) in August 2018 after leaving the Samajwadi Party and contested the Lok Sabha polls but could not open his account.
In the last Lok Sabha polls, the SP fought in alliance with the BSP but could only win 5 seats while the BSP won 10. However, after the elections, the BSP ended the alliance.
Sources in the Samajwadi Party say Akhilesh Yadav was unhappy after the Lok Sabha results where the PSP caused a major dent in the party’s votes and his wife Dimple lost from Kannauj and senior party leader Ram Gopal Yadav’s son Akshay, too, lost from a pocket borough of the party.
Shivpal Yadav, once a prominent leader in the party, saw his relations sour with cousin Ram Gopal Yadav and nephew Akhilesh Yadav in September 2016, ahead of the 2017 Assembly elections when party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav replaced Akhilesh Yadav with Shivpal Yadav as the state party chief. Akhilesh Yadav, in defiance of the move, stuck to his guns and released his list of candidates for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
Mulayam Singh and Shivpal Yadav in December 2016 expelled Akhilesh Yadav and Ram Gopal from the party over alleged “indiscipline”. In the tussle, Akhilesh Yadav, who was the then UP Chief Minister, divested Shivpal of key cabinet portfolios, before leading a virtual coup to replace his father as party chief.
Shivpal Yadav had offered a truce last year too, but was met with stoic silence by the parent party.