LUCKNOW: Senior Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Singh Yadav is finally back in the reckoning.
Almost ten months after SP president Akhilesh Yadav ended the six-year-old feud with his uncle, Shivpal is now busy with organisational management of the party while Akhilesh manages alliances and strategies at the national level.
With Shivpal back to the forefront, the party cadres have received the much-needed boost in the run-up to Lok Sabha polls next year.
जनपद बांदा में आयोजित प्रशिक्षण शिविर कार्यक्रम में… pic.twitter.com/Pfy1wiOkEr
— Shivpal Singh Yadav (@shivpalsinghyad) August 16, 2023
Shivpal is addressing training camps of the cadres drafting the basics of the campaign.
Akhilesh has tasked Shivpal with cadre training. He was known for his cadre connect even during party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav’s time.
“With Shivpal being given importance in management, the party is sending out positive signals to the cadres. The leaders have buried the hatchet sooner than later and are working together to present a strong alternative to people in elections,” said a senior party MLA.
The impact of the “reunion” that took place in October last year after the demise of Mulayam is becoming increasingly evident.
Shivpal was made party’s national general secretary in January this year and a number of his supporters have been given a place in the SP’s state executive committee announced last week.
Besides, the party has been dropping hints that Shivpal could contest the Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat while Akhilesh will opt for Kannauj.
Both, Akhilesh and Shivpal are cautious enough this time not to let ‘insiders’ create trouble and misunderstanding between them.
Akhilesh and Shivpal were locked in a bitter feud when the former was the Uttar Pradesh chief minister and the latter was a heavyweight minister in his cabinet. The feud surfaced in 2016 and got intensified over the party’s control as the 2017 assembly polls approached.
It culminated with Akhilesh taking control of the party and becoming its national president and leading to Shivpal’s ouster.
Shivpal subsequently formed his own party and contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls against the SP and damaged Akhilesh on a couple of seats.
The SP, which contested the 2019 LS polls in alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party, could bag only five seats. Prior to this, the SP had contested the 2017 UP assembly polls in alliance with the Congress and was unseated from power.
The tensions between the two began to thaw in the run up to the 2022 UP assembly polls but a cold war continued when Akhilesh gave only the Jaswantnagar seat to Shivpal.
Mulayam’s demise in October 2022 brought the nephew and uncle back on the same page and some family elders played a key role in convincing Akhilesh to give due respect to his estranged uncle.
It was the 2022 Mainpuri Lok Sabha bypoll that turned out to be a turning point in Shivpal-Akhilesh relationship. The Yadav family members wanted Akhilesh’s wife and former Kannauj MP Dimple Yadav to contest Mainpuri Lok Sabha bypoll that was necessitated after Mulayam’s demise.
Shivpal supported Dimple. Akhilesh later brought Shivpal back into the party and the latter merged his party with the SP.