LUCKNOW: Ignoring the advice of Samajwadi Party patriarch and father Mulayam Singh Yadav, party chief and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav made his political intentions clear by joining Rashtriya Janata Dal president, Lalu Prasad's `BJP Bhagao, Desh Bachao' rally in Patna on Sunday.
Instead of sending his uncle and party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav, as has been the convention, Akhilesh himself went to Patna to pick up the fight against the BJP from where his father and then party chief, Mulayam Singh Yadav had left it — by walking out of the proposed grand alliance in 2015. This time, directing uncle Ram Gopal to be in Delhi, Akhilesh chose nephew and Mainpuri MP Tej Pratap Singh who is Lalu’s son-in-law as well.
Earlier, pre-occupied as CM, Akhilesh had a very limited role in state politics as most of those responsibilities were entrusted to former state chief of SP Shivpal Yadav while all the decision about the party and its role in national politics were taken by Mulayam himself. But this time, Akhilesh’s participation, despite Mulayam’s warning, has sent out the message that he was serious about being a part of any anti-BJP front.
Mulayam had recently cautioned the son against being part of any grand alliance saying that the latter should learn the lesson from the alliance he had stitched with the Congress party in the last Assembly election. “SP’s numbers of seats depleted down to 47 from 224 and Congress lost its standing by shrinking to 7,” Mulayam had pointed out, adding that if Akhilesh would join any alliance with any party or group of parties, he would be forced to part ways as he was in favour of going it alone.
As the ties between Akhilesh and the Mulayam-Shivpal combine soured, the former decided to chalk out his own course even if it were against the wish of the party and family elders. With a major national convention of the Samajwadi Party scheduled in September, Akhilesh has indicated his preparedness to join hands with other political outfits in order to stop the surging saffron bandwagon.
It may be recalled that Mulayam had decided against being a part of such a rally convened by Lalu Yadav in Patna in 2015 following which the efforts to cobble up a grand alliance of the non- BJP parties had received a jolt and the Gath-Bandhan had failed to take off.
Meanwhile, Akhilesh’s decision to attend the Patna rally is also being seen as him cutting down Ram Gopal Yadav to size within the party. Sources said that Akhilesh had been upset about Ram Gopal having invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders to a function he had organised to mark the completion of his 25 years in Parliament. Akhilesh Yadav had refused to attend the event and had stayed in Lucknow.
He has reiterated he would continue his fight against the BJP, at the national level too, ignoring the warnings of his father and founder of the party.