Akhilesh Yadav undone by feud with uncle Shivpal

Akhilesh Yadav undone by feud with uncle Shivpal

Akhilesh Yadav undone by feud with uncle Shivpal

The Yadav family feud that dragged on for nearly six months may have made a gripping television viewing, but it certainly cost Akhilesh Yadav a crucial state election in his budding career.

The long-drawn-out and public spat between Akhilesh and his uncle Shivpal, who was backed by father Mulayam, seemed to be the main reason for heavy losses the SP suffered in its bastions.

In one of its worst performances, the SP could only get 12 of the  69 seats in its strongholds of Mainpuri, Etawah, Kannauj, Etah and some others, where its tally in 2012 was 55.

Shivpal and Mulayam, once the party’s prominent campaigners, turned their backs this time.

 Mulayam showed up at the campaigns of brother Shivpal and daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav, while Shivpal confined his canvassing to his personal battleground of Jaswant Nagar.

Shivpal withdrew from campaigning after Akhilesh dropped his loyalists from the candidate list and replaced them with his own. Shivpal’s followers also actively worked against the SP candidates in Etawah and other places.

Having an inkling of the sabotage by party insiders, Akhilesh aired his apprehensions at his rallies in the family bastions.

 “I know my own people are conspiring against me,” Akhilesh had said at Mainpuri during his campaign.

Analysts point to a severe fragmentation of the Yadav votes that damaged the SP in its traditional strongholds. “SP family feud was a big factor in this belt.  Shivpal loyalists openly opposed SP nominees,” said media analyst Prabhat Chaturvedi. Remarks by Mulayam, Shivpal and other family members further damaged Akhilesh. A few days before the first phase of polling, Mulayam said Akhilesh was “anti-Muslim”, while Shivpal launched a tirade against his nephew.

The last nail in the coffin was driven by Akhilesh’s stepmother Sadhna Yadav, who, a day before the last phase of elections, accused the UP Chief Minister of “humiliating” Mulayam and Shivpal.

SP leaders admit that the feud could flare up once again after the party’s humiliation at the hustings.