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Mainpuri bypoll: Massive win for Mulayam’s bahu Dimple ends pari-war, Shivpal back in SP

Reconciliation efforts were on ever since SP patron's death. Shivpal says followers of Gandhi, Lohia, Ambedkar & Chaudhary Charan Singh should come together for 2024 polls.

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Lucknow: A resounding win for Mulayam Singh Yadav’s ‘bahu’ Dimple Yadav in the Mainpuri Lok Sabha bypoll led to a reunion in the Samajwadi Party’s (SP) extended family, ending a six-year feud that had prompted party president Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle Shivpal to float his own outfit in August 2018.

As Dimple was on her way to win by over 2.88 lakh votes — a much larger margin than her late father-in-law Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh welcomed Shivpal Yadav back to the SP as his uncle merged his Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia (PSP-L) with the parent party at a function in Saifai’s SS Memorial College.

Shivpal and his son Aditya Yadav had made changes to their Twitter accounts to identify themselves as SP leaders.

“There was a demand that we get united. So, today, both of us got united. We were waiting for the right time and the public here helped us with a massive win. Now, in 2024, we will fight as one,” Shivpal told the media in Etawah after Akhilesh handed him the party flag and touched his feet.

“From now on, we will fight all elections together. The big win for our daughter-in-law has come about only because the family is one,” he asserted, adding that it was a mandate against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Calling for a larger coalition in UP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Shivpal said the followers of Gandhi, Lohia, Ambedkar and Chaudhary Charan Singh should come together for the 2024 fight.

‘Reunion efforts were on since netaji’s death’

While Dimple’s win gave the SP a big relief as well as presented the perfect occasion to announce the chacha-bhatija (uncle-nephew) reunion, reconciliation efforts were on ever since Mulayam’s death on 10 October, party insiders told ThePrint.

The reunion will help strengthen the party and it is a positive sign ahead of the 2024 polls, former SP MP Rewati Raman Singh told ThePrint.

“This should have happened earlier itself but now that this has come about, it is very positive. This will increase the possibilities for the party in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the 2024 polls. Well-wishers were trying to bring the duo close to each other ever since netaji’s (Mulayam) death,” said Singh, who is also a founding member of the party.

The BJP, meanwhile, said that doubts remained on how the SP will treat Shivpal.

Stating that SP has repeatedly changed its stand on Shivpal earlier as well, BJP state spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi pointed that the party “freed” him by issuing a letter. “Before that he was removed from the post of party chief and shown the door after humiliation. Today, they are joining hands but doubts remain on how he will be treated… He himself will be responsible for that,” Tripathi said.

Cycle of feud, reconciliation & fallout

While the relationship between Shivpal and Akhilesh started getting uncomfortable when the nephew became the Uttar Pradesh CM in 2012, they subsequently had differences of opinion over several prickly issues like candidate selection, functioning of the government and finally the merger with Mukhtar Ansari’s Quami Ekta Dal in June 2016.

The uncle-nephew feud led to a bitter family drama which publicly played out the same year

After a series of confrontations and Mulayam removing him from the post of SP state chief and nominating Shivpal in his place, Akhilesh took away all significant departments from his uncle   which led to a rise in tensions in September, 2016.

Shivpal finally went separate ways with his nephew by forming PSP-L in August 2018.

Three years on, a family gathering in Saifai brought the two sides together in a political arrangement for the UP polls but the bonhomie was short-lived as Akhilesh gave only one seat to PSP-L and did not invite Shivpal to the first meeting of newly-elected SP legislators in March.

As public statements against each other led to a new low in their equation, the Samajwadi Party in July wrote to Shivpal and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party chief Om Prakash Rajbhar informing them that “they were free to go elsewhere, if they felt they could get respect there.”

In September, Shivpal declared that he would never compromise again. But, SP insiders said, that Mulayam’s death changed everything and that both leaders realised family unity could only ensure political growth and relevance.

(Edited by Tony Rai)



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