Will Mulayam's absence cost Akhilesh in eastern UP?
The Samajwadi Party has been on a roller coaster ride before beginning its campaign for the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls. While the Yadavs have tried their best to portray a united front, the subtle hints of an ongoing rift have not gone unnoticed. While it has now been made clear that Uttar pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is the boss of the SP, patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav's absence from Akhilesh's rallies is being used by detractors as reason enough to prove that all is not well.
Mulayam, who changed his stance on campaigning for the polls multiple times, has so far campaigned only for brother Shivpal Singh and daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav. His distance from all of Akhilesh's rallies fueled speculations of Mulayam disapproving Akhilesh's decision to align with the Congress. Especially in the eastern UP region, where Akhilesh and Rahul held a joint road show on Saturday, Mulayam Singh loyalists are all set to make things difficult for Akhilesh. Mulayam not being part of Akhilesh's rally is being peddled as an indicator of his not supporting the Akhilesh-led Samajwadi party and its candidates.
While the BJP and BSP are natural rivals for Akhilesh, a new rival in the form of Mulayam's loyalists who have either rebelled, jumped parties or are disheartened have made things more challenging for the chief minister. In the 2012 assembly polls, Mulayam's rallies and presence had ensured massive gains for the SP in the Varanasi-Azamgarh region. An MP from Azamgarh, Mulayam has not been seen campaigning this time around with Akhilesh and his wife Dimple taking over the reigns of poll campaign.