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HomePoliticsUnhappy allies, estranged uncle — Akhilesh’s Mahagathbandhan 'on the rocks', MLC polls...

Unhappy allies, estranged uncle — Akhilesh’s Mahagathbandhan ‘on the rocks’, MLC polls fuel fire

Mahan Dal, Janvadi Party (Socialist) express resentment over denial of MLC tickets & SBSP leader gives cryptic warning about 'future'. SP downplays complaints, says alliance intact.

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Lucknow: Barely three months after facing defeat in the assembly polls, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav’s rainbow alliance of small allies representing various caste groups seems to be falling apart as two constituents expressed anger over the selection of candidates for the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council election.

On Wednesday, the Mahan Dal said it had “almost decided” to part ways with the SP, while the Janvadi Party (Socialist) expressed its resentment over the ticket distribution for the MLC polls due on 20 June. While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has named nine candidates for the Legislative Council election, the SP has finalised four candidates.

Hours after these statements, a senior leader of Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP), too, made a cryptic tweet expressing his resentment with a “partnership” and warning about “the future”. The Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia — led by Akhilesh’s estranged uncle Shivpal Yadav — meanwhile announced that it would fight the state’s upcoming municipal polls on its own.

The SP, however, downplayed the resentment expressed by its allies and claimed that the alliance was intact. Asked about Maurya’s comments, SP chief spokesperson Rajendra Chowdhury told ThePrint that while there had been no discussion on the issue so far, things would soon be cleared up after talks with the alliance constituents. “It may be possible that this incident (MLC election) has led to some resentment but the alliance is intact. We believe that the Mahan Dal is with us and will continue to be so,” he said.

While the Janvadi Party (Socialist) had tied up with Akhilesh in February 2018, the Mahan Dal, Gondwana Gantrantra Party, the Kanshiram Bahujan Mool Samaj Party, and the Political Justice Party followed suit in 2021. The Apna Dal (Kameravadi) joined the alliance the following year. The Jayant Chaudhary-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), the two relatively bigger outfits in the SP-led alliance, have  significant support bases in western and eastern Uttar Pradesh, respectively.

Also Read: Why Akhilesh Yadav could not defeat Yogi despite signs of anti-incumbency

‘SP does not need me anymore’

Soon after the SP declared the names of its candidates for the MLC polls, Mahan Dal chief Keshav Dev Maurya targeted Akhilesh, saying that the senior ally did not need him anymore and that it needed only people like Swami Prasad Maurya — a former BJP minister and backward-class leader who defected to the SP in January this year — “who can’t ask questions.”

In a statement to the media, Maurya said that he had sought an MLC seat but his request was denied. The Mahan Dal chief, however, stopped short of calling the alliance over. “I have almost decided to part ways with the alliance. I am not upset with anyone…Ever since I joined the alliance, with all my heart, I wanted the SP to form the government, but I never got any importance from the SP. The kind of importance given to other people was not given to me, even though the Mahan Dal is a big party of the Shakya, Saini, Kushwaha and Maurya communities,” he said, adding that the SP had given more importance to Swami Prasad Maurya than to him so that he would not emerge as a major leader.

Keshav Dev Maurya also claimed that his request for a Lok Sabha ticket from Etah in the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha election had been denied. He then asked for a ticket from Farrukhabad but his request went unheard, he claimed. He also alleged that the SP tried to weaken his party’s candidate in the Bilsi assembly constituency during this year’s election.

He wasn’t able to get an apppointment with Akhilesh despite having tried for the past 25 days, he claimed. “At the time of alliance formation, I had said that I am going ahead without any condition but will ask after the government is formed. The government could not be formed, that’s okay. But when you are giving to others, why not me?” 

‘Upset but will continue to be with SP’

Another SP ally, the Janvadi Party (Socialist) — which represents the Loniya Chauhan OBC community and is the oldest SP ally among all the parties — too expressed resentment with the SP over the denial of an MLC ticket.

“I am the oldest ally of the SP and Akhileshji, since February 2018. I have been trying to link the Other Backward Classes with the SP. In the 2022 polls, our community tried to garner votes for the SP despite denial of ample seats. I did not voice any objection because I was told that we should focus on the election and after government formation, I will be made MLC. It is sad that even during a meeting with party office-bearers, the assurance was repeated. Whenever, a party office bearer met the SP leadership, the issue was raised; therefore, I am upset,” JP(S) chief Sanjay Chauhan told ThePrint.

While his party remains in the alliance, Chauhan conceded he was ‘upset’ with the SP.

SBSP spokesperson’s cryptic tweet

While SBSP chief O.P. Rajbhar denied that the alliance was falling apart, the party’s national spokesperson Arun Rajbhar issued a cryptic tweet. “The public limits those who keep the talk of partnership limited to words. It is harmful for the future to ignore those who work hard and strengthen one while furthering those who merely talk,” he wrote in Hindi.

But O.P. Rajbhar downplayed the tweet and told ThePrint that during the election campaign for the bypoll, all the alliance constituents including he himself, Sanjay Chauhan, Keshav Dev Maurya, and others would be seen on one platform.

Terming the resentment expressed by junior allies “short-lived”, the SBSP chief asked “where else would the smaller parties go?” Saying that he had come together with SP veteran Azam Khan for the Rajya Sabha polls — despite media reports that Khan was upset with the SP leadership — Rajbhar exuded confidence that the same would happen before the Lok Sabha bypolls in Azamgarh and Rampur on 23 June.

Also Read: Mulayam & SP could’ve done more to get Azam Khan out of jail, I’ll speak to Yogi, says Shivpal

Shivpal to fight civic polls on his own

In a statement issued after a meeting of district presidents, mandal in-charges and other frontal leaders on Wednesday, the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia (PSP-L) said that taking a lesson from its old experiences, it would fight the civic polls on its own.

Party chief Shivpal Yadav said that while he had formed an alliance with the SP with an open heart, his party had been “backstabbed” in response. “As a result of this, the SP is sitting in the opposition. PSP-L will move forward with the principles of socialism and nationalism. Nobody is allowed to indulge in division and the politics of hatred in the name of Ram,” he said. 

Shivpal had earlier told ThePrint that despite being the opposition leader who had won the greatest number of votes in the assembly polls earlier this year, he found no acceptance in the SP. Elected to the state assembly from Jaswantnagar, he has reportedly been upset ever since the SP failed to invite him to a meeting of newly elected MLAs on 26 March. Shivpal was the only person to get a ticket from his party, and contested on the SP symbol. 

(Edited by Tony Rai)

Also Read: Shivpal Yadav to join BJP? What’s behind his overtures, and why nephew Akhilesh isn’t worried



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