LUCKNOW: Aparna Yadav, younger daughter-in-law of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, and her husband Prateek Yadav visited newly-anointed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow on Friday.
Following the half-hour private meeting, the couple left without talking to the media. However, party officials later insisted that it was just a courtesy call.
But given the brutal drubbing of the Samajwadi Party at the hands of the BJP in the recently-concluded Assembly polls, the meeting has sparked intense speculation among political circles here. Given the
vicious feud between Mulayam and his son Akhilesh just before the elections, and the finger-pointing after the rout, the murmurs of a possible political realignment are bound to arise.
Aparna Yadav, Mulayam’s Chhoti Bahu, had contested the Assembly election from Lucknow Cantonment, but lost her seat to ex-UPCC chief and BJP candidate Rita Bahuguna Joshi by over 30,000 votes.
In the run up to the UP polls, when the family feud and war for the party symbol was at its peak, Aparna was seen positioned obliquely against Akhilesh as a parallel force. Many in the family and the party were propping her up as an equal and opposite power centre to blunt Akhilesh.
However, after Akhilesh clearly established his leadership and won the party symbol, his father Mulayam and uncle Shivpal Yadav had no option but to fall in line. Shivpal was sacked by Akhilesh from the post of SP State chief, though he was later given a ticket to contest from Jaswantnagar.
Aparna’s BJP love is not new. She has publicly praised Prime Minister Modi, and even clicked and shared a selfie with him. She is also close to the Gorakhnath Math, where Yogi Adityanath is mahant or
chief priest. When the ‘Bade Maharaj’ Mahant Avaidyanath passed away in 2014, Aparna was the only representative from the ruling Samajwadi Party’s first family to visit the math and pay tribute. Her husband Prateek, 28, is Mulayam’s younger son from his second wife. He is a real estate businessman and a fitness enthusiast who owns a high-end gym in the State capital, and insists that he is apolitical.