Samajwadi Party: Family feud, genuine disharmony or organised skulduggery?

If Aparna Yadav really wants Hindus to believe sincerity in her wish to see a Ram Temple in Ayodhya, she should first get senior SP leader Mulayam Yadav to apologise for his ordered "massacre" in which 56 karsevaks were killed and then champion the cause of Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

Joining the chorus for Ram Temple, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav’s younger daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav has strongly batted in favour of building a Ram Temple in Ayodhya. Talking to the media, she expressed her desire to see a Ram Temple in Ayodhya and said that she believes the court will hand out the verdict in favour of building the temple.

Aparna Yadav, who contested 2017 polls as an SP candidate and lost, will be backing uncle Shivpal Singh’s Pragatishal Samajwadi Party Lohia (PSPL) and would be contesting the elections in 2019 from the same. Although, she said that her father-in-law’s blessings are always with her.

The UP elections 2017 brought to the fore the latent rift between Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Shivpal Yadav. It was widely assumed that Mulayam Singh would grasp the nettle and broker a peace accord between the two internecine warring factions and somehow keep the flock together but that didn’t happen. The two factions peacefully parted their ways with Shivpal Singh Yadav forming his own party PSPL. Though Mulayam Singh Yadav is seen frequenting SP’s monthly meets, Shivpal Yadav exclaims that his brother’s blessings are with him.

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This puts an ordinary citizen in quandary. If Mulayam Singh Yadav supports SP, then how can he bless Shivpal Singh Yadav and Aparna Yadav for PSPL party’s success? Is the division of SP into two factions just a charade to fool people? It might as well be a masterclass stratagem by Mulayam Singh Yadav to continue garnering Muslim votes through SP and try to venture into tapping Hindu communities hitherto ignored by the SP by floating a new party with aggressive Hindutva agenda under his brother’s leadership. In all likelihood this schism is just a smokescreen, both parties will probably form an alliance before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Shivpal Singh Yadav has even urged Mulayam Singh Yadav to become his party’s prime ministerial candidate.

Mulayam Singh Yadav, since the days of his chief ministership in UP during the 1990s, has been known to be close to the Muslim community. In 2017, he stood by his decision he took on October 30, 1990, to ask the forces to fire upon the karsevaks marching towards Ayodhya. If this wasn’t enough, adding insult to the injury, Mulayam Singh Yadav quipped, “If more people were required to be killed for the sake of the country’s unity and integrity, the security forces would have done it.” He earned the sobriquet ‘Mullah Mulayam’ by the Muslim community for issuing orders to fire at karsevaks.

On the other hand, his younger daughter-in-law, Aparna has been pretty vocal about her Hindu roots and has not shied away from expressing her opinions about matters concerning Hindus, even if that meant defying her party’s viewpoint. A few months back, she lambasted Mamata Banerjee for supporting predominantly Muslim illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

However, with such contrasting credentials established by her father-in-law Mulayam Singh Yadav, it becomes a tad difficult for an average Hindu to take whatever Aparna Yadav says at face value. The party has no definite stand on Ram Temple but evades the issue to appease its vote bank. If Aparna Yadav really wants Hindus to believe sincerity in her wish to see a Ram Temple in Ayodhya, she should first get senior SP leader Mulayam Yadav to apologise for his ordered “massacre” in which 56 karsevaks were killed and then champion the cause of Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

Champing at the bit of furnishing one’s Hindu credentials is in vogue these days among politicians of different hues. Congress organises Temple run drives for its president Rahul Gandhi in election-bound states in order to emphasise their Hindu creds. Other parties who once despised being associated with Hinduism are aggressively trying to pursue Hindu votaries. If one thing that trumps everything else that Modi has been successful in, it is this rekindling of the moribund spirit of Hinduism in the country. The country in which hitherto talking about Hinduism and slamming minority appeasement were considered as cardinal sins is finally seems to have overcome the guilt it was conditioned to in reclaiming its cultural heritage.

Samajwadi Party is facing tough headwinds from Yogi’s BJP in Uttar Pradesh. The party is in crosshairs with its old ally Congress and like Mayawati’s BSP, it too had decided to go to the assembly polls in the 5 states without entering an alliance with Congress. Moreover, the party is actively considering forming an alliance with its arch-rival BSP in these states. It is but obvious, in such a gloomy scenario, Samajwadi Party is trying to play safe by hedging its bets and appeasing every community to widen its appeal among the electorate. Floating two separate parties might well be a key to achieving this end.

Aparna Yadav seems to be a staunch Hindu but there appears a visible incongruency in her party’s disposition towards Hindus. The senior party leaders like Akhilesh Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav have based their entire politics on despising Hindus and appeasing minorities.  If they are thinking their duplicity won’t be noticed, then they are grossly mistaken. Mulayam Singh Yadav will have to shun this double-dealing and be definitive on his stance on Ram Mandir or it will be a classic case of chasing two rabbits and catching none for the Samajwadi Party.

Samajwadi party ideologues have, so far, been successful in underplaying these incongruencies but they need to understand that the new-age Hindu is not going to take their incongruencies lying down. Their moves are carefully been watched and assessed by them. Unless they sincerely enunciate their stance vis-à-vis Hindus, such diversionary tactics of subterfuge will only serve to diminish their political significance.

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