Politics might be opportunistic, unprincipled, selfish, ugly, etc, but dull it never is. For, its practitioners represent almost every colour in the multi-hued kaleidoscope. Just when you thought the BJP might be in for tough times ahead in the 2019 election following the unlikely jugalbandi between Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, out pops Shivpal Yadav, threatening to spoil the party. The newfound bonhomie between the SP’s ‘bhatija’ and the BSP’s ‘bua’, it seems, does not please a wee-bit Akhilesh’s uncle, Shivpal. He is so angry at the antics of his nephew that he has announced that not only will he float his own rival Yadav-Muslim-centric party but, worse, would field Mulayam Singh Yadav, the founder of the Samajwadi Party and Akhilesh’s father, on its ticket in the next Lok Sabha election.
Shivpal felt publicly humiliated by Akhilesh when the latter split the SP and parted ways with his father Mulayam on the eve of the last Assembly elections in UP. An uneasy truce was called after a few intermediaries helped restore a semblance of order in the Yadav parivar. But it was clear that the internal Yadav family feud, with Akhilesh enjoying the support of his uncle Ram Gopal Yadav while Shivpal and the latter remain bitter foes, was not easy to settle. The open fight that broke out in the Yadav clan two years ago saw Ram Gopal being expelled by Mulayam one day and Akhilesh, in turn, expelling Shivpal and Mulayam next day, and elevating Ram Gopal to a higher position in the party controlled by him. In short, it is unlikely that Shivpal can accept Akhilesh as his leader. A new party led by Shivpal, who had played a huge role in establishing the original SP along with Mulayam, can eat into the SP base, especially when Akhilesh seeks to align with the BSP whose constituency remains ill at ease with the Yadav-Muslim core of the Samajwadi Party.
This contradiction and clash at the grassroots level between the Dalits and the Yadav castes is bound to be exploited by Shivpal’s proposed unsullied outfit. It intends to attract all those SP leaders who fail to get tickets due to the alliance with the BSP and those who are unhappy with the alliance with the BSP. Also, the public claim by Mayawati that she would only enter into an alliance with the SP if given a bigger share in ticket distribution can add to the woes of Akhilesh. Another player in the SP-BSP tango whose capacity to play spoilsport cannot be exaggerated is Amar Singh. Expelled from the SP, Singh is now an independent member of the Rajya Sabha. Of late, a new bonhomie is developing between Singh and the BJP. That he is on the side of Shivpal in the latter’s feud with Akhilesh is a public secret. In other words, nothing is settled politically and electorally in UP. No, nothing. It accounts for eighty members of the Lok Sabha. The SP-BSP tie-up might appear formidable, but in reality there are too many imponderables. Nothing can be taken for granted till a clearer picture emerges closer to the poll next year.