Shivpal left to fend for himself

Shivpal left to fend for himself

For someone who used to enjoy the number two position in the Akhilesh Yadav cabinet not long ago, the sudden isolation of former state SP president Shivpal Singh Yadav evokes both sympathy and anger in Jaswant Nagar, his home turf, in Uttar Pradesh’s Etawah district.

‘Untouchable’ within the party, of which he is one of the founders with his older brother and SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shivpal, who is an SP nominee from here, has been left to fend for himself.

“Shivpal is the biggest victim of the SP family feud... it is really sad to see him fighting the electoral battle alone,” said Sompal Yadav, a Shivpal supporter.

Mahaveer Singh Yadav, another supporter, echoed similar sentiments. “Shivpal and Mulayam have built the party... Shivpal has sacrificed a lot for the party, but he has not got anything in return,” Mahaveer said.

But Sompal and Mahaveer are certain of Shivpal’s victory. “It is only a question of margin... it remains to be seen if it goes up or declines,” said Sompal. During the last election, Shivpal had won by over 80,000 votes.

Shivpal has confined himself to his Assembly constituency, where he has been addressing six to seven rallies everyday. “These are my people... I have known them for long,” he said.

His nephew and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav addressed rallies in all Assembly constituencies in Etawah, but avoided Jaswant Nagar. Mulayam, however, campaigned for his younger brother and sought votes for him.

For those who had been sidelined by Akhilesh and found themselves isolated within the party, Shivpal is like a shelter. In fact, many of his loyalists who were denied nominations by Akhilesh have joined rival parties and are working against the official SP candidates in the district, but they are campaigning for Shivpal.

Loyalist helps rival BSP  

Raghuraj Shakya, the sitting MLA from Etawah who was refused a ticket by Akhilesh, was present at Mulayam’s rally here a few days ago. In Etawah, Shakya is helping the BSP nominee. “My loyalty is to Shivpal... he is my leader,” Shakya said.

The popular refrain in Jaswant Nagar is that Shivpal will get the votes of every community. “Shivpal is a regular visitor to the constituency... he meets everyone cutting across caste lines,” said Ashok Gupta, a resident of the constituency.

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