New Delhi: Days after Mulayam Singh Yadav declared that he will not campaign for the UP elections, his brother and political aide Shivpal Singh Yadav on Tuesday said that he would form his own party after the assembly polls, and that he will campaign for those who were denied election tickets by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
With this announcement, it has become quite clear that the Mulayam-Shivpal faction, which is locked in a long-drawn battle for supremacy within the party, is not going to stay silent through the next month during the elections.
Shivpal said that he had agreed to withdraw his supporters from the list of candidates but he felt offended when the Akhilesh faction did not even spare Mulayam and removed him from the post of party chairman. He added that Mulayam and he were trying to save the party from further degradation but now that he was left with no option, he would form another party with his supporters after March 11 – the day the poll results will be announced.
What impact this will have on the polls is up for speculation but it is clear that Akhilesh does not have an easy ride ahead of him, given his opponents’ constant targeting of him.
The continuing rebellion from the Mulayam-Shivpal faction may pose further problems for Akhilesh, who has already lost considerable campaigning time because of the internal feud and the delay in striking an alliance with Congress.
A critique that political analysts have advanced against the SP-Congress combination is that the alliance, which materialised only recently, stands at a loss in front of its opponents, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the BJP, who spent considerable time on the ground before the elections. The only way out of this, they say, is for the alliance to create a positive perception among various sections of voters.
At present, the only advantage Akhilesh has over his opponents is his popularity across caste and community divisions, as well as his pro-development image, which he has projected successfully so far. Most opinion polls have noted that in the face of an agenda-less, leader-less BJP and the out-of-touch Mayawati, Akhilesh has emerged as the most popular candidate across a cross-section of communities, making him a promising candidate for the chief minister’s post.
However, the bickering within the party may hurt his prospects as he will have to fight intra-party struggles at a time when he should be focusing on the assembly polls. The only factor that is currently working for Akhilesh is that he has emerged as a leader who wants to keep the development cycle going without having to rely on patronage politics, something his party had banked upon until now.