Mulayam family feud to spill on to the electoral arena

Mulayam family feud to spill on to the electoral arena

Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav and Shivpal Singh Yadav. PTI

The bitter family war within the Samajwadi Party (SP) patron Mulayam Singh Yadav's family is all set to spill out on to the electoral arena with rebel SP leader Shivpal Singh Yadav announcing to contest against nephew Akshay Yadav in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls

Shivpal said that he would contest from Ferozabad Lok Sabha seat in the western Uttar Pradesh region from where Akshay Yadav, who is the son of SP Rajya Sabha member Ram Gopal Yadav, will be contesting the election.

Ram Gopal had supported SP president Akhilesh Yadav and was said to be instrumental in getting Shivpal sacked from the cabinet in the then Akhilesh government in 2016.

''Akhilesh has ditched his father (Mulayam) and threw me out of the party... SP is now finished,'' Shivpal, who has formed his own outfit called the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (PSP), said.

Shivpal and Ram Gopal turned bitter foes after the sacking of the former as the rebel SP leader felt that it was the latter, who conspired against him.

Ferozabad was one of the five Lok Sabha seats, where the SP had emerged victorious despite a Modi wave in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

SP leaders, who were taken aback by Shivpal's announcement, admitted that Akshay might find the going tough if Shivpal indeed contested from Ferozabad.

''Shivpal commands considerable influence in Ferozabad... His presence at the hustings will split our vote bank allowing the BJP to scrape through,'' a senior SP leader said in Lucknow.

Shivpal has vowed to put up his candidates in all the Lok Sabha seats in the state barring the one from where Mulayam will contest. There are 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.

BJP leaders in Lucknow hope that Shivpal will dent the SP vote bank thereby helping the saffron party.

SP leaders, however, say that Shivpal may bag a few hundred votes but will not have a statewide effect.