The much imminent split in the Samajwadi Party materialised on Friday, with senior party leader Shivpal Yadav announcing that his elder brother Mulayam Singh Yadav would head the Samajwadi Secular Morcha, to be guided by the tenets of social justice and secularism.
Both Mulayam and Shivpal were upset with Akhilesh Yadav for having a seat adjustment with the Congress in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls. After the SP’s disastrous showing in the polls, Akhilesh, who had displaced his father as the head of the party, faced strident criticism for having jettisoned the party’s anti-Congressism.
The new front offers Mulayam and Shivpal the opportunity to distance themselves from Akhilesh’s politics, keep their anti-Congressism alive and also keep their options open for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, including exploring the possibility of a seat adjustment with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Shivpal, along with his son, had met UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in the first week of April. Mulayam Singh’s younger son and daughter-in-law have also been public about their admiration for Adityanath. Aparna Yadav, who is married to Mulayam Singh’s younger son Prateek, has met the UP chief minister more than once in the last month and a half. Adityanath also visited the ‘gaushala’, or cowshed, that Aparna runs in Lucknow.
The split in the SP comes in the wake of increased infighting and internal dissent in parties such as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and Biju Janata Dal (BJD).