New Delhi: In a family feud that could very well be a show on an OTT platform, the Yadav family of Uttar Pradesh has split again – politically that is. Aparna Yadav, the daughter-in-law of Samajwadi Party (SP) patriarch Mulayum Singh Yadav, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday.
Aparna is the wife of Prateek Yadav, the step-brother of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav. Prateek was born to Mulayam’s second wife.
She is keen to contest from the Lucknow Cantonment seat which she lost as a 28-year-old SP candidate in 2017 Assembly elections to Rita Bahuguna Joshi of the BJP by a margin of 33,796 votes. After Joshi won the Lok Sabha election from Allahabad in 2019, a bye-election saw the return of BJP’s Suresh Chandra Tiwari, who had won from the Lucknow Cantonment seat three times previously in 1996, 2002, 2007.
In the bye-election, the SP had fielded Major Ashish Chaturvedi who lost, receiving 21,256 votes.
The earlier Yadav clan feud which started in 2016, saw two factions emerge, one led by Akhilesh and the other by his uncle, Shivpal Singh Yadav supported by his brother and father of Akhilesh, Mulayum Singh Yadav. In 2017, Akhilesh Yadav even led a coup which saw his father being dethroned as the party chief. Mulayam later forgave Akhilesh.
All that political drama done, they will now, at least for this election, form an alliance with the uncle’s new party Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party Lohia (PSPL).
And now Aparna has joined hands with the one party that the SP loves to hate – the BJP.
But even in 2017, Aparna’s political switch may have been seen in the invitation she extended to Yogi Adityanath, current CM of UP, to a cow shelter. She was quoted as saying that Adityanath was like a father figure: “He is the chief minister and therefore, a father figure for every resident. I am not saying this but this is what the country’s Constitution says. I will be thankful to him for my entire life as he accepted my invitation.”
“The new government has been doing good work,” she said, adding that they shared a “sister-brother” relationship.
Incidentally, many ascribe the switch to the BJP to the fact that, like Yogi Adityanath, whose real name is Ajay Mohan Bisht, Aparna also hails from Uttarakhand and she was also a Bisht before marrying into the Yadav family.
In another transparent support to the ruling party, Aparna unlike her family’s party had supported the National Register for Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). She had also gone on to say that “Any true Indian will not protest against the population and citizenship campaign. It is only some anti-social elements who are protesting”.
With Aparna now officially joining the BJP, her views will be more in symmetry with the party she is with, but it would be interesting to see who the party ends up giving the ticket from Lucknow Cantt to. Although Aparna has shown her interest in this seat there are many others too who are keen.
Who the BJP ends with giving the seat could also be instrumental in decisions that other hopefuls would make.
The party has been seeing defections to the SP by OBC leaders who say that the BJP did nothing for the marginalised, whereas the BJP claim the leaders left because they were not going to be given a ticket.
As reported by India Ahead earlier, the Lucknow Cantt seat is a BJP stronghold which it won for the first time in 1991. In the case of SP, they have never won from this seat.
But other BJP leaders who are eyeing this seat include the current Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma. BJP MP Joshi, too wants to field her son Mayank from the seat which she won twice, once as a Congress candidate in 2012 and then in 2017 as a BJP candidate.
Then there’s Lucknow mayor Sanyukta Bhatia who is also demanding a ticket for daughter-in-law Reshu Bhatia. With a sizeable population of persons displaced from Sindh, Pakistan in the constituency, a person like Bhatia could determine a good reach for the BJP.
This seat also has shown a winning streak for Brahmin candidates, who have won from the constituency 12 times so far.