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Akhilesh first choice as ally, if he refuses, we’ll go with smaller parties, uncle Shivpal says

Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) chief Shivpal Yadav says 2022 UP polls could be tough for nephew and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav if he 'doesn't take others along'.

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New Delhi: Samajwadi Party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav is trying to bring together his brother and Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) chief Shivpal Yadav and son SP president Akhilesh Yadav for an alliance ahead of the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.

Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) has mediated over a few phone calls between me and Akhilesh. Whenever Akhilesh visits him, he gets me on the phone. The last time I spoke to Akhilesh was four months ago,” former SP national president Shivpal Yadav told ThePrint in an interview.

The 66-year-old leader, however, said nephew Akhilesh never meets him in person.

“Akhilesh speaks nicely in front of Netaji, but he does not meet me in person despite several attempts to reach him.”

Talking about his plans for the 2022 assembly polls, Shivpal said, “The BJP offered me before the 2019 general elections, but I declined the offer as our ideologies do not match. I asked Akhilesh then that I am not demanding anything, but let’s get into an alliance. He refused.

“This time too, the first choice is Akhilesh and the family, but if he does not change his mind, then we will be going (in alliance) with the smaller parties,” he said.

He further said he read about the SP offering him one seat in the alliance in the newspapers for the 2022 polls and felt humiliated.

Shivpal, the younger brother of Mulayam Singh Yadav, had been the national president of SP, the Leader of the Opposition during the Mayawati government and a five-time MLA in the UP assembly. He formed the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) in 2018 after months of infighting in the SP.

Also read: Thank you, Akhilesh Yadav. BJP can take its vaccine nationalism from here

‘SP under Akhilesh’s leadership lacks respect and space’

Commenting on the leadership of Akhilesh, Shivpal said, “During Netaji’s times, everyone was given respect. Each and every section of the society was given space. (But) SP under Akhilesh’s leadership lacks both.

“The elder leaders feel sidelined. He does not take his father’s suggestions on political decisions either.”

Shivpal accused dozens of Akhilesh’s aides of creating enmity between the two.

According to him, the “so-called advisors” who have surrounded Akhilesh are responsible for the break-up in the family.  

“These people are responsible that despite our efforts, the family is not coming together. This is going to damage SP’s politics in the future as well,” he added.

‘The road is too difficult for Akhilesh in 2022’

Shivpal’s party had contested 42 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, securing 0.307 per cent vote share. In the 2022 state polls, the party has decided to field candidates on all the 403 assembly seats.

“We are already in touch with (Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party chief Omprakash) Rajbhar and a few others (for alliance), things are being planned,” he said.

According to Shivpal, even if the alliance of smaller parties doesn’t secure many seats, it will surely hurt the SP’s voter base.

“Mayawati’s 20 per cent vote is not going anywhere, but with (AIMIM chief Asaduddin) Owaisi’s entry and other factors, the loss will be of the SP’s. If Akhilesh does not take along others, the road is too difficult for him in 2022,” he added.

As the Ram Mandir issue seems to have taken the centrestage in UP politics, Akhilesh and Congress’ Priyanka Gandhi Vadra have been seen visiting major temples in the state. 

Asked about OBCs and smaller sub-castes shifting towards Hindutva, Shivpal said, “This is a big challenge, but if Akhilesh takes others into consideration, then we can be seen as the alternative political option too.”

He also said, “There is no dearth of issues (in UP politics). There is a rise in fuel prices, cylinder gas and inflation under the BJP government. These issues should be turned into big political issues, but people need to see us united, not divided.”

Also read: ‘How can I trust BJP’s vaccine?’ — Akhilesh Yadav says won’t take Covid shot


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