Lucknow: Despite Mainpuri candidate and SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav showcasing unity after a long-running family feud, locals in the party’s stronghold Saifai are divided in their opinions of supporting the party in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls. Though the closeness between Mulayam and Akhilesh has given a loud and clear message of ‘hum saath saath hai’, it is still hard for the people of Saifai to restore faith in Akhilesh. In 2016, Akhilesh had dethroned his father as party chief following a bitter political feud within the family members. He even showed the door to his uncle Shivpal, who later formed his own party — Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (PSP).
The family feud has become a hot topic of discussion among villagers at Saifai. Here, people are in full support of Mulayam, However, they are of the view that he has brought development in the region but the family feud has broken his image. An old villager and supporter of Mulayam, Bainchlal while showing support to Shivpal, said, “We have no problem with Mulayam Singh and Shivpal. The issue is that Akhilesh does not know anything about the village. We can say or share anything to Shivpal but Akhilesh does not know how to take everyone along.”
“Due to political confrontation in the Yadav family, we all are in dilemma. However, everyone hopes that in the near future, this family gets united again,” said a local Jagdamba Prasad. Youths in Saifai are divided into two groups — a few supporting Akhilesh while others are in favour of Shivpal.
Also, the village is witnessing campaigning for both the leaders. “We are sure that both of them will win from their respective constituencies. It is the opponent which wants to divide Yadav family but we are sure once the results of the elections are out, everything will be resolved and they all will be united again,” Kunal Yadav said.
The feud in the first family of the Samajwadi Party was clearly evident in the recent election rally held by SP-BSP alliance in Mainpuri as Mulayam’s younger brother Shivpal Singh Yadav was not present there. However, BSP supremo Mayawati was there and showed firm support to Mulayam’s candidature. At the rally, Mayawati asked supporters to make Mulayam win by a huge margin.
Akhilesh is contesting from Azamgarh, a seat currently held by his father Mulayam. Interestingly, Mulayam had won both Azamgarh and Mainpuri in 2014. In order to bolster its chances in the crucial East UP region, it was the party’s decision of replacing him with Akhilesh.BJP has never won a seat from Mainpuri while Mulayam himself won it in 1996, 2004, 2009, and 2014 general elections. Shivpal, who is contesting the Lok Sabha polls from the Firozabad parliamentary constituency, has termed the SP-BSP alliance “a flop show”. As per the seat-sharing agreement, the SP is contesting on 37 seats and the BSP on 38. Three seats (Mathura, Muzaffarpur, and Baghpat) have been given to the RLD.
The elections in Uttar Pradesh are being held in all seven phases for 80 Lok Sabha seats. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.