Mulayam obituary
The party and party chief Akhilesh Yadav is sure to miss Mulayam Singh’s emotional bonding with every camp and also his expert guidance in crucial times

Mulayam's demise: SP loses its guiding light, Akhilesh his shield and shadow

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Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav’s demise might not have any direct political impact on the party, but its president Akhilesh Yadav will now have to work without his “shield and shadow”. Besides, the party is sure to miss Mulayam Singh’s emotional bonding with every camp and also his expert guidance in crucial times, according to political observers and party insiders.

Akhilesh Yadav, his son, became the party president in 2017 after a feud with uncle Shivpal Yadav. Even though he is already at the helm of affairs and has his team in place, Mulayam Singh has left behind him a void which will be hard to fill, they believe.

Also read: Mulayam’s ability to connect with marginalised people set him apart

According to political observer J P Shukla, Mulayam had stopped running the everyday affairs of the party long back, but his blessings were sought before every major decision by the party chief.

“Mulayam had founded the party but he had not interfered in the party’s functioning for the past several years. His name was a shield for Akhilesh in whatever decision he took. He used to claim the support of his father,” Shukla said.

Psychological loss

“After his demise, Akhilesh will have to work without his shadow. While it will make no difference in the internal matters of the party, there will be a psychological impact. Those like Shivpal Yadav and others, who due to emotional bonding with Mulayam did not speak much against the SP, will now be free. The emotional bonding which Mulayam had formed with people across party lines will be missed too,” Shukla added.

A senior party member said that though Mulayam Singh had distanced himself from the party’s politics, he never stopped giving advice on crucial matters. “Netaji was not active in politics due to health reasons. But here in SP, leaders used to visit him for his advice and at times, for his recommendations for party tickets and posts. Netaji had sound knowledge of who is doing what, and he used to enquire about others also when you met him,” said former SP MLC Anand Bhadauria.

“He was our guiding force. He used to tell us not to shy away from the path of struggle and come on roads to protest on matters of people’s interest. We will certainly be missing him,” he said.

Also watch: Mulayam Singh Yadav passes away at 82

Several party leaders used to approach Netaji for favours and recommendations of their names to Akhilesh Yadav. Netaji many a time even acted on such requests and initiated a talk, another senior leader said.

Open with views

He recalled the 2019 Lok Sabha polls when SP had entered into an alliance with BSP and gave 38 seats to it agreeing to contest from 37 seats. Netaji did not agree with the decision and had openly expressed his unhappiness at giving almost half the seats (out of 80) to the BSP.

At the party office, Mulayam Singh had said that he used to give tickets 14 months in advance and added that if the party cannot give tickets, he will distribute them. He had once even said that Akhilesh may give tickets, but he can change the decision, said another party leader, who did not wish to be named.

Former SP MLC Rajpal Kashyap, who was considered a Mulayam loyalist and is not active in politics anymore, said Mulayam Singh was not only a guiding but “uniting force” of the party too.

“No one in the party ever challenged anything Netaji said. If he came to know about differences between anyone, he always ensured that everything is sorted out and would not allow personal differences to hinder the growth of the party,” Kashyap said.

The Yadav clan

Currently, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brother Abhay Ram Yadav’s son Dharmendra Yadav (former MP from Badaun), elder brother Ratan Lal Yadav’s grandson Tej Pratap Yadav (former Mainpuri MP) and his uncle Bacchilal Yadav’s son Ram Gopal Yadav and Ram Gopal’s son Akshay Yadav (former MP from Firozabad) are with Akhilesh Yadav’s camp.

While Mulayam’s second wife Sadhna Gupta’s son Prateek Yadav is a businessman and not active in politics, his wife Aparna Bisht Yadav, who contested the 2017 assembly elections on an SP ticket from Lucknow’s Cantt seat, is an active member of the BJP.

Even in 2017, when Akhilesh and uncle Shivpal Yadav were at loggerheads, Mulayam was visited by both of them whenever he called them. After Shivpal Yadav formed his own party, he also visited Netaji for his blessings.

Mulayam Singh’s brother Shivpal Yadav formed Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party Lohia (PSPL) in 2018 and is working to strengthen it.

Also read: Mulayam: Astute politician with a finger on pulse of caste politics

The family till now used to gather at one place on festivals like Holi and Diwali with Mulayam and also did not speak in the open against each other.

After the demise of Mulayam Singh’s second wife, Akhilesh Yadav, Shivpal Yadav and Prateek Yadav were seen together at the cremation.

Now with the veteran leader gone, the family members are on their own and only time will tell how things move without him in future.

(With Agency inputs)

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