Rajat Sharma

Akhilesh-Jayant alliance: Confusion on ground in Western UP !

akb fullPolitical developments are taking place at a fast pace with differences arising among Samajwadi Party and RLD leaders over fielding of candidates in western UP. Local Jat leaders are protesting fielding of Muslim candidates by Samajwadi Party, and RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary is having a tough time persuading them to fall in line. In another development, SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav has decided to contest from Karhal assembly seat in Mainpuri district. Another close relative of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav joined BJP on Thursday.

A glaring example of differences between SP and RLD was evident from Maant assembly seat in Mathura district, where both SP and RLD candidates have filed nominations. SP candidate Sanjay Lather and RLD candidate Yogesh Nauwhar filed their nominations from the same seat. The confusion arose because Jayant Chaudhary had earlier given ticket to Yogesh Nauwhar, but after Akhilesh Yadav spoke to the RLD chief, the latter decided to give the seat to SP, and Sanjay Lather filed his nomination on bicycle symbol. Lather says, he is hopeful Nauwhar would agree and withdraw his nomination. Nauwhar is adamant. He says, he will withdraw only if RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary contests from this seat. He says, he lost the last election by a slender margin of 432 votes, and would not concede this seat this time. Even if Nauwhar withdraws his nomination under pressure from his party chief, there are chances of he and his supporters sabotaging the prospects of SP candidate Sanjay Lather.

Similarly, for Siwalkhas seat in Meerut, a tug-of-war has broken out between SP and RLD camps for the last three days. Under seat sharing agreement, SP gave this seat to RLD, but Jayant Chaudhary has given the ticket to SP candidate Ghulam Mohammed on RLD symbol. Local RLD workers are up in arms. They want the nomination to be given to their own candidate Raj Kumar Sangwan. Ghulam Mohammed, who lost last time, opposed this, and a way was found out for Ghulam Mohammed to contest on RLD symbol. Clashes between workers of RLD and SP have broken out at several places in Siwalkhas. RLD workers are not allowing Ghulam Mohammed’s supporters to enter Jat dominated villages for campaigning. RLD workers have even raised slogans against their own party chief Jayant Chaudhary and have burnt RLD flags and banners. Ghulam Mohammed claims, differences have been ironed out after he spoke to Raj Kumar Sangwan. However, the message has gone down among Jat supporters that their claims have been ignored.

In Jewar assembly seat of Gautam Budh Nagar district, local Gurjar stalwart Avtar Singh Bhadana on Thursday declared that he was opting out from the race because he was suffering from Covid. Bhadana had left BJP and joined RLD. He had filed his nomination three days ago. RLD decided to field advocate Indraveer Bhati in his place, but late at night, Bhadana tweeted that his RT-PCR report was found negative, and he would contest on RLD ticket. Insiders say, Bhadana carried out a survey in his constituency and found that the BJP was going to win by a big margin. It was because of this that he decided to opt out of the race, but late at night, he changed his mind.

In Chhaprauli near Baghpat, Jat supporters objected to the nomination of RLD candidate Veerpal Rathi and demanded that the candidate be changed. They threatened to call a Jat panchayat and field an independent. To stall the rebellion, RJD chief Jayant Chaudhary has now decided to field Ajay Kumar to replace Rathi.

Normally, party workers stage protests when their candidates fail to get party tickets, but in western UP, the picture is quite the opposite. Workers of both SP and RLD, supposed to be electoral allies, are attacking each other and threatening to sabotage their prospects. This is quite serious. The reasons could be: One, while the supremos of both parties join hands to form a coalition, workers and local leaders of both parties were yet to reconcile to the views of their party chiefs. Two, while selecting candidates, care was not taken to rule out possibility of their own supporters objecting to the choice of candidates.

Akhilesh Yadav will now have to tread carefully. In the first phase of polls in western UP, SP has only one ally, RLD, but in other regions of UP, he has allies belonging to smaller, local, caste-based parties. The headaches are definitely going to increase. Each of these smaller parties are quite demanding and vociferous. Their leaders prefer to look after the interests of their own castes and communities. If Akhilesh Yadav accedes to most of the demands of these smaller parties, he will have fewer seats left for his own party. His own party leaders may then revolt.

In Indian politics, it is often said, it is easy to form a coalition, but difficult to keep all constituents together. Similarly, it can be said, ‘to run a family is easy, but to keep the entire flock together is difficult’. Under Akhilesh Yadav’s leadership, the MSY family is breaking into pieces.

On Thursday, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s close relative Pramod Gupta left SP and joined BJP. Gupta was SP MLA from Bidhuna seat in Auraiya district. He is the brother-in-law of Mulayam Singh’s wife Sadhana Gupta. Akhilesh did not give him a ticket five years ago, after which Gupta joined Akhilesh’s uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav’s Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party. This time since Akhilesh’s uncle has joined the alliance, Gupta hoped to get a ticket from Bidhuna, but the equations changed completely after BJP MLA from Bidhuna Vinay Shakya and his brother joined SP. Failing to get a ticket, Gupta joined BJP and on Thursday, alleged that Akhilesh was running a “one-man show” and was not even listening to his father. Gupta alleged, Akhilesh is sidelining each one of his family relatives.

Reacting to this, Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday said, he was grateful to BJP for “ending dynastic politics” in the Yadav family. The contrast is striking. When ministers and leaders quit BJP and joined Samajwadi Party, an elated Akhilesh Yadav welcomed them with garlands. With the same enthusiasm, senior BJP leaders are now welcoming members of MSY family to the party by putting saffron scarves on their shoulders.

There is no denying the fact that Akhilesh Yadav is using to the hilt, the dominance that Mulayam Singh used to command in his region. On Thursday, it was announced that Akhilesh will contest assembly election from Karhal in Mainpuri, from where Mulayam Singh is the Lok Sabha MP. Mulayam Singh Yadav had his early education in Karhal. He studied in Jain Inter College, Karhal, and later became a lecturer in the same college.

Mulayam Singh began his political foray in UP from Mainpuri. He toiled hard in Mainpuri, Azamgarh and Etawah and created his electoral base. He constantly travelled to villages in this region and founded the Samajwadi Party. One big reason is that Yadavs and Muslims co-exist in this region, and they accord utmost respect to Mulayam Singh Yadav and his family. For Akhilesh Yadav, this is a plus point for him politically while contesting from Karhal. BJP MP Subrat Pathak said, Akhilesh has chosen a safe seat from his father’s constituency because he feared defeat.

Whatever BJP leaders may say, Karhal has been a safe seat for Samajwadi Party over several decades, except 2002 election. The BJP candidate who won in 2002, also later joined SP. In the last assembly elections, the SP won three out of four seats in Mainpuri, which is considered a citadel of Samajwadi Party, just like Gorakhpur, which is a citadel of UP CM Yogi Adityanath. On Thursday, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’ declared he would contest against Yogi Adityanath in Gorakhpur. The result is a foregone conclusion.

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