Game of Thrones: Lucknow Edition
The rift between the first family of Uttar Pradesh politics is out in the open with uncle and nephew firmly and squarely at loggerheads
Pradeep Kapoor Lucknow
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s apparent drive against the corruption and criminalisation of politics in UP has brewed a political crisis and exposed the sharp rift in the extended Yadav family.
The squabble between Shivpal Yadav and his nephew Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav reached boiling point with Akhilesh being removed from the post of party president. The Chief Minister struck back by taking away important portfolios from his uncle.
It would be worth mentioning here that Shivpal Yadav and Mohd Azam Khan were opposed to the idea of Akhilesh Yadav becoming Chief Minister in 2012, but Mulayam Singh Yadav had persuaded them to set aside their reservations and accept Akhilesh as their leader. That was then. The past four years have been marked by the tug of war between uncle and nephew spilling out into full public glare and factionalism and infighting becoming the order of the day. Akhilesh was noticeably miffed when he had Deepak Singhal imposed upon him as the Chief Secretary.
Rumour has it that Akhilesh wanted Pravir Kumar instead but had to bow to the combined pressure exerted by Shivpal, Ramgopal and Mulayam. Singhal had figured in the infamous Mulayam Singh Yadav-Amar Singh tapes.The strife between the two reached the point of no return when Akhilesh blocked Shivpal's move to merge mafia don Mukhtar Ansari's Quami Ekta Dal with the Samajwadi Party. Mulayam was left with no option but to back his son. Aghast at the move, Shivpal was quite vociferous in expressing his anger in public. Mulayam also made his displeasure known and warned Akhilesh that if Shivpal decided to quit the party then almost half of the party's cadres would go with him.
The situation unfolding now is a far cry from the situation a month ago when a mahapanchayat of the combined Yadav clan took place in Lucknow and announced that there was no rift between uncle and nephew. Ever since Akhilesh sacked Cabinet Minister for Mining Gayatri Prasad Prajapati and Panchayati Raj Minister Raj Kishore Singh over allegations of corruption, his popularity has grown manifold.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav decided to take action against Gayatri Prasad Prajapati only when the Allahabad High Court ordered a CBI probe into allegations of corruption against him. The clamour for Prajapati's removal had been growing louder by the day as he was widely believed to be the man behind illegal mining in Uttar Pradesh. Prajapti was in the news this March when it had surfaced that his daughter was one of the beneficiaries of the 'Kanya Dhan Yojana', aimed at girls from BPL families. It was the PIL filed by Dr. Nutan Thakur in the Allahabad High Court which hastened Prajapati's exit. As soon as the court rejected the government's affidavit to stall a probe against Prajapati, Akhilesh lost no time in dismissing both Prajapati and Kishore. He also sacked Deepak Singhal and appointed Rahul Bhatnagar as the Chief Secretary instead.
The power tussle within the family will not abate anytime soon as key members of the family are lined up against each other. Akhilesh enjoys the support of his uncle Ram Gopal Yadav while Shivpal has the backing of Mulayam Singh Yadav's wife and his other son, Prateek Yadav.