The Uttar Pradesh Assembly poll results will be announced on the coming Thursday. Going by exit polls, it seems certain that the Yogi government is going to come back to power for a second historic term. For the BSP and the Congress, it isn’t quite significant. They weren’t expected to win anyway. But it means a lot for the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP that was trying to make a comeback in the state.
If the SP fails to form the government, it will be a second successive term without power for the party. And this could raise questions over the leadership of former CM Akhilesh Yadav. Other stakeholders could stake claim over leadership and that could as lead to the end of the Mulayam Singh Yadav clan’s dominance in UP politics.
How big is the Mualayam Singh Yadav clan?
The Samajwadi Party is a clan-based party and the Mulayam Singh Yadav clan has its authority stamped all over it.
Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brothers- Shivpal Singh Yadav, Ram Gopal Yadav, Rajpal Singh Yadav, Abhay Ram Yadav and Ratan Singh Yadav have been prominent faces in Uttar Pradesh.
Then, there are also several second-generation political leaders, including Akhilesh Yadav himself, and his cousins- Anshul Yadav, Akshay Yadav and Dharmendra Yadav. Finally, the wives of second-generation leaders too are becoming prominent in UP politics.
For several years, the Mulayam Singh Yadav clan has been dominant in UP politics, with political power at all levels from the CM office in Lucknow to the Lok Sabha, and even the Panchayat level.
Akhilesh Yadav- the inheritors of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s legacy
Choosing an inheritor in such a clan isn’t an easy task. However, Shivpal Singh Yadav was always seen as the one wielding a lot of power. However, ultimately it was Akhilesh Yadav who was chosen as the inheritor of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s legacy, even as the party patriarch seemed set for achieving higher ambitions at an all-India level.
From 2012 to 2017, Akhilesh served as the UP Chief Minister and seemed to command leadership of the party. There was also a tussle within the Mulayam Singh Yadav clan with Akhilesh Yadav on one side, and Shivpal and Mulayam on the other. However, Akhilesh Yadav seemed to be the one who is commanding the party.
However, things might change now.
Akhilesh Yadav failing to bring SP back to power
By 2017, it became clear that Akhilesh is the one leading the SP. However, he has already been disappointed two times. In 2017, SP and Congress stitched an alliance to take on the BJP. But as we all know, the BJP came to power with a huge mandate while all other parties got decimated.
In 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Akhilesh Yadav-led SP changed its strategy. This time it formed an alliance with BSP. But again, the SP-BSP coalition won just 15 out of 80 seats in the state, while the BJP won 62 seats.
Now, in 2022, SP went solo under Akhilesh Yadav’s leadership. But again, the exit polls aren’t very encouraging. So, under Akhilesh Yadav’s leadership, the SP has gone to polls under three different templates but has seemingly failed every single time.
For other stakeholders in the Yadav clan, the repeated failures of the party could be an opportunity to make renewed claims on leadership. Even before the elections, divisions were noticeable as three members of the Mulayam Singh Yadav clan including party patriarch’s younger daughter-in-law Aparna Bisht Yadav had shifted to the BJP.
If the election results aren’t favourable, we could be looking at more leaders getting upset and more divisions in the Yadav clan. This could very well be the end of the Yadav clan’s dominance in UP politics.