LUCKNOW: The security cover ordered by the Yogi Adityanath government to Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav's daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav has triggered murmurs over her proximity to the ruling BJP, a suggestion she denies.
Aparna Bisht Yadav, wife of Mulayam Singh Yadav's younger son Prateek Yadav, was last month provided 'Y' category security by the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh.
It triggered speculation that she may be preparing to switch sides ahead of the 2022 assembly polls.
Her brother-in-law and former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav saw a Bharatiya Janata Party plot in the development.
"Providing her security is 500 per cent BJP's trick," he said in a newspaper interview, which he shared over social media.
When asked if she is still with the SP, Aparna Yadav told PTI, "Yes, I joined the party in 2016 on the directions of 'netaji' (Mulayam Singh Yadav) and am very much a primary member of the party."
But she also criticised her own party.
"There is lack of discipline in the SP. Party workers should know the party constitution, SP's ideology and about socialism.'Netaji' always talked about discipline in the party. What is the place of women in the party now?" she said.
"The old guard has changed in the party and the new one should take care of it. He must be working on it," she said, referring to the power shift in the family from Mulayam Singh Yadav to son Akhilesh Yadav.
The woman rights activist also defended her praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his handling of the coronavirus crisis.
"I am a citizen of the country and say whatever I feel is correct," she said.
"Not just me, the entire world is praising him for announcing the lockdown. The opposition should say what else could have been done. Criticising anyone is easy but there should be appreciation of the good work too," she added.
She also appreciated Adityanath's work during the pandemic.
"How many opposition leaders have visited community kitchens? Who is stopping them? They should also come out of their homes and do the same," she said.
She dismissed the speculation triggered by her getting the 'Y' category security.
"I am in public service and do my work in a transparent manner. I got the security, which is provided only after a threat assessment by the state security headquarters," she said.
Asked about the security given to the SP patriarch daughter-in-law, a BJP leader said, "It's a government decision. There is no politics in it. There is a procedure for giving or withdrawing security."
The Yadav 'bahu' had unsuccessfully contested the 2017 assembly elections for the Lucknow Cantonment seat.
Asked if she will fight again in 2022 as an SP candidate, she said, "The seat has a very special place in my heart. I am doing my work and if the party gives me the chance, I will certainly fight from there."
But she was non-committal when asked if she would consider contesting on behalf of the BJP or any other party if the SP does not field her. It will happen when it does, she replied. "Samay aayega to ho jayega."
But, she added, this is not her current focus. "Our priority at present is the health of 'netaji', so that we can have his blessings," she said.
On the rift in the Yadav clan, she said, "We all want that the family remains one. I think all will be well in the days to come."
"Both 'chachaji' (Shivpal Yadav) and 'bhaiya' (Akhilesh Yadav) have to decide the future course of action as both of them are seasoned enough," she said.
'Bhaiya' still loves and respects him," she said, when asked about Akhilesh Yadav's announcement on leaving the Jaswant Nagar seat in Etawah for uncle Shivpal Yadav in the 2022 polls.
She said she will do whatever she can to unite the family.
"Chhotey hain, daant bhi diye jaatey hain" (Being the youngest, at times I get scolded also)," she added.