Akhilesh smells rat in uncle Shivpal's 'secular front'

Akhilesh smells rat in uncle Shivpal's 'secular front'

Shivpal Yadav

In a significant political development ahead of next year's Lok Sabha elections, Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Akhilesh Yadav's sulking uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav on Wednesday formed a "Secular Front" signalling that he might be preparing to leave the SP.

Although Shivpal made it clear that he was not leaving the SP yet, he said that his "Samajwadi Secular Morcha" would strive not only to bring all "disgruntled" party leaders on one platform, but also give them seats, and that the party's prospects were "bright."

It was not clear if Shivpal's front had the blessings of SP patron and Akhilesh's father Mulayam Singh Yadav, though Shivpal claimed that Mulayam had approved his move.

"The front will emerge as a new political alternative in Uttar Pradesh... We will also try to bring in smaller outfits (with us)," Shivpal said.

Shivpal's announcement came a day after the expelled SP leader Amar Singh revealed that the former had backed out at the last moment from joining the BJP.

However, Akhilesh, while speaking to reporters later, smelled a conspiracy in his uncle's decision. "The developments of the last couple of days certainly make me feel that it was coming," he said.

The SP chief said that he was prepared to witness "more such" developments as the Lok Sabha polls come near.

When pointed out that Shivpal was "unhappy" at being ignored, Akhilesh shot back saying that he, too, was "unhappy" and asked "where should I go?"

Shivpal — who had been having estranged relations with Akhilesh since 2016 when the latter sacked him from the post of party general secretary and minister — had been dropping hints that he could "charter a different course" if his "isolation" in the party continued.

The SP leader also heaped praise on UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and called him an "honest" man, who was doing a "good job."

Meanwhile, the BJP felt that Shivpal could prove to be a "spoiler" for the grand alliance if he formed his own outfit and put up candidates in the state for the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

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