Shivpal Yadav likely to float separate party

Akhilesh Yadav’s estranged uncle, however, said that he was not averse to a tie-up with the SP-BSP alliance

Indicating that there is no chance of a compromise with his estranged nephew Akhilesh Yadav, senior Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav has initiated steps to formalise his “Samajwadi Secular Morcha” into a parallel political party ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Mr. Shivpal Yadav, however, did not dismiss the prospects of having an alliance with the SP-BSP mahagathbandhan if it materialises and he was treated with respect.

Spoke to Mulayam

In an interview to The Hindu, Mr. Shivpal Yadav said his decision to form a separate morcha was not based on a whim and he had the blessings of SP founder and his elder brother Mulayam Singh.

“I discussed this with him many times. I have taken this step after a lot of thought and waiting, and after speaking to all,” he said.

The estranged leader recently declared that he would seek to rope in leaders neglected by the SP under Akhilesh Yadav into his outfit and also connect with smaller parties looking for political space.

Though Mr. Yadav is yet to formally resign from the SP, he suggested that he had cut off ties with the party and complained that he was not even shown the basic courtesy of being called to SP meetings despite still being a party MLA.

Known for his organisational skills, Mr. Yadav estimated that without his support, the SP-BSP alliance would lose the edge against the BJP in 2019.

According to a close aide, the strategy was to create such a presence before the polls that non-BJP parties are forced to negotiate with him and create space for him and his allies.

Support in by-polls

Mr. Yadav said that in the by-poll elections in which he openly supported the alliance or did not oppose their candidate — Phulpur, Noorpur, Gorakhpur and Kairana — the BJP was defeated, while in the Sikandra by-poll the SP lost as he had abstained.

Warning that the low margin of victories earned by the SP with support of the alliance can be easily overturned, Mr. Yadav said he also had the “support of the Yadavs, Muslims and the youth.”

“Had I opposed them, imagine what would have happened. In Kairana, I ensured that the [rebel candidate of Lok Dal] Kanwar Hasan withdrew at the last moment. In the final result, the margin was not much,” he said.

Bolster organisation

Mr. Shivpal Yadav plans to strengthen his organisation, and wants to embark on a State-wide tour to gather support. He is in touch with a faction of BAMCEF.

Last week, he had attended a meeting of the Yadav-based Krishna Vahini in Lucknow and also concluded a three-day tour of Nepal where he attended a conference of the International Federation of Yadav Chamber of Commerce where he apparently sought support from industrialists belonging to the community. He also held a public meeting in Muzaffarnagar, which was hit by riots in 2013.

While the morcha is still in its nascent stage, Mr. Yadav has announced a list of official spokespersons, including two former State Ministers, Sharda Pratap Shukla and Shadab Fatima, who had been shunted by Akhilesh Yadav after his takeover of the party, and is in touch with several former MLAs.

To bolster his cadre work, he has also formed three frontal outfits named after him to connect with youth, including a fans association and a youth brigade.

While he did not share details of his plan to register the morcha into a political party, its tentative name and when he was planning to resign from the SP, Mr. Yadav did not dismiss the prospect of contesting himself.

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