Voices Tuesday, April 07, 2015 - 05:30
Biswajeet Banerjee | The News Minute | May 14, 2014 | 11.59 am IST The din of hectic campaigning has ended and an anticipated wait has begun for the May 16 results, but the big question making the rounds in Uttar Pradesh is about Mulayam Singh Yadav. Whether Mulayam retains the Azamgarh seat or leave it for his second son Prateek Yadav. The Yadav “parivar’s” power play has the elements of a soap opera. The political grapevine suggests women in Yadav family are propping up Prateek to counter Akhilesh’s influence and want Mulayam to spare that seat for his second son. Mulayam Singh contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from both Azamgarh and Mainpuri . Prateek is Akhilesh Yadav’s stepbrother from Mulayam’s second wife, Sadhna Gupta who started living with Mulayam after the death his first wife. Prateek has exhibited his political inclination time and again. In July 2013 around 500 Samajwadi Party leaders had staged a protest outside Samajwadi Party office demanding Prateek should be given ticket from Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat in eastern Uttar Pradesh. SP had named its Panchayati Raj minister Balram Singh Yadav as a candidate from Azamgarh by then. It is believed that the protest was orchestrated by Sadhna Gupta to counter growing influence of Akhilesh Yadav, who by then had completed one year in office as Chief Minister. Sadhna Gupta was keen that her son too must get a share of the Yadav family’s political spoils. The move had been quickly scuttled by Mulayam’s cousin and Rajya Sabha MP Ramgopal Yadav. But Sarla, wife of Mulayam’s brother and Uttar Pradesh minister Shivpal Singh Yadav, is learnt to have kept prodding Sadhna to get Prateek into politics. This would shape Prateek as a countervail to Akhilesh and his wife Dimple, the incumbent MP from Kannauj. There may be a grain of truth to this because despite a big demand from Azamgarh’s Samajwadis for Dimple to canvass for her father-in-law, she stayed away. Akhilesh and Dimple have got Ramgopal, an emerging power centre unto himself, on their side to foil the designs of Sadhna and Sarla. A couple of days ago, Ramgopal had issued a statement that said Mulayam would not “abandon” Azamgarh for anyone, if he was elected. Insiders in the Samajwadi Party say that Ram Gopal was forced to say this to consolidate Mulayam’s votes. If Mulayam gets elected from both Mainpuri and Azamgarh, he will have to give one of them within six months. On his part Mulayam had called Mainpuri his “dil” (heart) and Azamgarh his “dhadkan” (heart beat). Whether he will listen to his “dil” (read Sadhna Gupta) and leave his dhadkan to Prateek, only time will tell.