New Delhi: Samajwadi Party (SP) patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav Wednesday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in what is yet another instance of families being split over politics.
Aparna, who is married to Prateek, Akhilesh’s step-brother, had contested the 2017 assembly elections on an SP ticket, but lost to the BJP’s Rita Bahuguna Joshi from Lucknow Cantt. She is now pitching for a ticket from the same constituency, but from the BJP.
Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brother-in-law and former SP MLA Pramod Kumar Gupta has also joined the BJP.
However, families splitting over political ideologies and breaking away in search of better opportunities isn’t a phenomenon limited to Uttar Pradesh. In election seasons, such choices are commonly made across parties and states.
Last week, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s brother Manohar Singh, who was denied a Congress ticket, decided to contest as an Independent in the upcoming assembly elections.
The biggest example of such a split has been seen in India’s most prominent political family, the Gandhis. While former PM Rajiv Gandhi’s wife Sonia and children Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi continue to lead the Congress, the other half of the family — Maneka and Varun Gandhi, wife and son of Rajiv’s brother Sanjay — has been with the BJP for decades.
Here are some other prominent instances of members of political families choosing divergent paths.
Yadavs in Uttar Pradesh
Aparna Yadav’s move to the BJP isn’t the first instance of a split in the Yadav family. Earlier, there was a power tussle between Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Shivpal Yadav, which ended with Akhilesh getting hold of party leadership from his father Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Akhilesh, once a protege of Shivpal, had sacked his uncle from the government when he was the UP CM, in 2016. He became the SP president in January 2017 and Shivpal formed his own party.
However, last month, Akhilesh announced an alliance with Shivpal’s Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia).
Chautalas in Haryana
The Chautala family has dominated the political scene in Haryana for decades. However, ahead of the last assembly polls, former CM Om Prakash Chautala’s grandson Dushyant chose to distance himself from the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), and formed the Jannayak Janta Party in 2018.
Dushyant eventually allied with the BJP and got the post of deputy CM.
Another politician from the family — Om Prakash Chautala’s brother Ranjit Singh Chautala — also won the 2019 elections but as an Independent candidate. He is currently a cabinet minister in the Haryana government.
Badals in Punjab
Shiromani Akali Dal leader and former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal’s nephew Manpreet Singh Badal quit the party in 2010 after differences with his uncle and cousin Sukhbir Singh Badal. Manpreet then formed his own party People’s Party of Punjab. In 2016, he joined the Congress and merged his party with it.
Scindias in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh
Vijayaraje Scindia of Gwalior’s Scindia family of erstwhile royals was a BJP leader for decades, and same goes for her daughter Vasundhara Raje, the former Rajasthan CM. However, Vijayaraje’s son, the late Madhavrao Scindia, had a brief stint with the Jana Sangh but went on to serve as a Congress Union minister
His son Jyotiraditya Scindia served as a minister under the Manmohan Singh government. After being denied the CM post in Madhya Pradesh, he jumped ship to the BJP in 2020 and brought down the Kamal Nath government. Currently, he is the Union Civil Aviation Minister.
DMK family in Tamil Nadu
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader and M. Karunanidhi’s eldest son M.K. Alagiri was ousted from the party ahead of the 2014 elections over alleged indiscipline.
In 2018, the former DMK leader said he would accept his younger brother and party president M.K. Stalin as leader if he were to be reinstated into the party. However, it didn’t materialise.
In 2020, months ahead of the Tamil Nadu assembly elections, Alagiri claimed that he was mulling over creating his own political party.
Sinhas in Jharkhand
Ex-BJP heavyweight Yashwant Sinha was a senior cabinet minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. But he quit the party in 2018 over differences with the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah combine over their governance style.
His son Jayant Sinha, however, remained a minister in the Modi government until the 2019 elections. Currently, he is an MP from the Hazaribagh constituency in Jharkhand, from where his father was a three-time BJP MP.
Pawars in Maharashtra
The tight-knit Pawar family in Maharashtra could also not stop a mini family feud over politics.
In 2019, after the assembly elections threw up a hung assembly, NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar briefly deserted his own party and joined hands with Devendra Fadnavis, which led to him being a deputy CM for three days under a short-lived BJP government in Maharashtra.
However, Ajit Pawar quickly re-joined the NCP and became deputy CM under the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, which the party supremo formed in alliance with the Shiv Sena and the Congress.
(Edited by Amit Upadhyaya)