Lucknow: There’s another rift in Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family — the largest and most significant in Uttar Pradesh politics. Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam’s niece Sandhya Yadav is set to contest the panchayat elections in the family’s home district of Mainpuri on a BJP ticket.
Sandhya is a sitting district panchayat president representing the SP, and is the sister of Dharmendra Yadav, former Badaun MP. However, her name was featured as the BJP candidate from Ward 18 of Ghiror in the list announced Wednesday. Her husband Anujesh Pratap Singh had joined the national party in 2019.
The BJP ticket has now raised tensions in the family, which is also known as ‘Saifai parivar’ after the name of its home town.
So far, there has been no public response from any member of the Yadav family to this development. ThePrint reached both Sandhya and Dharmendra Yadav but neither responded to phone calls.
Reason for the new rift
Dharmendra and Sandhya are children of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s older brother Abhay Yadav. Dharmendra was the Badaun MP from 2009 to 2019, and is considered close to party chief, former CM and Mulayam’s son Akhilesh Yadav. He lost to the BJP’s Sanghamitra Maurya in 2019 by a margin of nearly 18,000 votes, and thereafter, didn’t get any notable role in the party organisation.
Sandhya, meanwhile, is upset with the party and the family because current Mainpuri MLA Raj Kumar Yadav’s supporters brought in a no-confidence motion against her in the district panchayat, a source close to the family told ThePrint.
“Somehow, she waded through that phase, but became a ‘rebel’ in the SP. Although these things did not come out in public, she was angry with the things going on in the SP as well as in the family. Raj Kumar has the backing of Ram Gopal Yadav (SP’s Rajya Sabha MP and a distant cousin of Mulayam Singh).”
Anujesh Pratap Singh confirmed this to ThePrint, saying: “An SP MLA brought a no-confidence motion against my wife in the district panchayat, and the whole family was silent on that issue because he is backed by Professor Sahab (Ram Gopal Yadav). The MLA (Raj Kumar) once used a bad word for my wife, but the party did not react to it. We have even brought this to the notice of Akhilesh Yadav, but he has not taken action against the MLA, so we have now decided to move on. We have a full faith in Modi ji and Yogi ji’s leadership. We will have a bright future here.”
BJP’s Mainpuri district president Pradeep Chauhan added that Anujesh had joined the BJP in 2019 because he was annoyed with the SP’s internal politics in Mainpuri, and also due to the rift in the family.
“So, now, he wanted her to contest on a BJP ticket. We consider her a strong candidate, and offered it to her,” he told ThePrint.
UP BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi added: “We give tickets to the candidates on the basis of winnability. It doesn’t matter what family background the candidate belongs to, only hard work & winnability are the basis for candidature. We welcome her (Sandhya) in our party; we provide a platform to all those who really want to work on the ground.”
Party denies rift
While the Yadav family remained quiet, senior SP leader and spokesperson Juhi Singh dismissed the speculation about a rift.
“Everyone is free to join any political party. We don’t see any harm in it. The Yadav family is united; they are on good terms with each other and calling it a ‘rift’ is not correct,” she said, adding that BJP can try whatever tactics it wants to, but the SP will perform better in the upcoming panchayat polls.
However, another source close to the Yadav family insisted there were cracks in the family.
“First Mulayam Singh’s brother Shivpal parted ways, which became a major reason for the SP’s losses in the 2017 assembly and 2019 Lok Sabha elections, and now niece Sandhya is also shifting to the BJP. Akhilesh must step in to solve these issues and bring the family together before next year’s assembly polls,” this source said.
The source pointed out that several pictures had emerged of Mulayam’s second son Prateek Yadav’s wife Aparna Yadav meeting CM Yogi Adityanath. “So it is clear that everything is not going well in the family,” he said.
(Edited by Shreyas Sharma)