LUCKNOW: Just a few days after the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) announced to go solo in the next assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP) announced its decision not to align with any major players.
“As per the aspirations of our workers, we’ll not have an alliance with any major/big parties, but will certainly have tie-ups with small parties. Chacha se bhi baat karenge (I’ll talk to uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav also) while partnering with smaller parties,” the SP chief and ex-UP CM Akhilesh Yadav said on his birthday on Thursday.
This announcement by the ex-UP CM raised the possibility of patch up with his uncle and ex-UP cabinet minister Shivpal Singh Yadav, who since 2018 has his own party, the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party.
Shivpal, the younger sibling of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav had severed ties with his nephew Akhilesh just a few months before the 2017 assembly polls in UP.
Recently, there have been unconfirmed reports of the melting of ice between chacha and bhatija (uncle and nephew) and the recent pictures of the uncle-nephew duo together at a family wedding strengthens that possibility. However, Shivpal Singh Yadav had publicly said that he will work only on building an alliance of smaller parties, including Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM to fight out the ruling BJP in the 2022 polls in UP.
Importantly, the unopposed election of the SP candidate for the post of chairperson of district panchayat in the Yadav family’s home Etawah district could only happen with Shivpal’s support.
The family feud in the Yadav family headed by Mulayam has been politically costing the family in UP since 2017 assembly polls, where the Akhilesh Yadav led party came up with its worst performance with just 47 seats and 21.62% votes -- 177 seats less than its 2012 tally of 224. Even an alliance with Congress and RLD didn't help against the BJP’s historic majority of 312 seats.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls also, SP shelved its long-standing bitterness with Mayawati-led BSP, but the outcome of the alliance was more in favour of the elephant symbol party and than SP's bicycle symbol as the BSP increased its tally from zero to 10 while the latter only managed to hold on to its 2014 tally of five seats.
Over the last few months, the Akhilesh Yadav led SP has been working at cobbling a vote bank of OBC (Yadavs and other OBC castes) along with non Jatav scheduled castes and the Muslims to return to power in 2022 polls.
The SP’s strategy to align only with smaller parties seems to have been driven by the success of BJP’s similar strategy in the 2017 assembly polls and the 2019 general elections in the politically crucial state.
While the SP has already aligned with small party Mahan Dal (which had sided with Congress in 2019 Lok Sabha polls), it’s also eyeing tie-ups with Om Prakash Rajbhar’s SBSP (a former BJP ally) and NISHAD Party (presently in alliance with ruling BJP) to eat into the BJP’s non-Yadav OBC and non-Jatav scheduled caste votes. The OBC comprises over 45% of UP’s total voters.
Reacting to SP chief Akhilesh Yadav’s announcement of not aligning with any major political party in 2022 polls, BSP chief and ex UP CM Mayawati tweeted that it is the party’s anti-Dalit mindset, which has made all major political parties stay away from it.