Former Uttar Pradesh MLA Pramod Gupta, a relative of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, joined the BJP on Thursday. Pramod Gupta is the brother-in-law of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s wife Sadhna Gupta. This comes a day after Mulayam Singh’s daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav joined the BJP.
Pramod Gupta accused party chief Akhilesh Yadav of holding Mulayam Singh Yadav captive, not letting anyone meet the veteran socialist. Gupta said Mulayam’s condition in the Samajwadi Party was very bad at present.
Mulayam Singh Yadav’s relative said, “Criminals and gamblers have been inducted to Samajwadi Party.”
After joining the BJP, Aparna Yadav had said she had always been “influenced by PM (Prime Minister Narendra Modi)”.
While SP chief Akhilesh Yadav had won the first round of the battle a week ago when he ensured the defection of three BJP ministers of backward caste and over half a dozen MLAs, the retaliatory strike by BJP, observers say, will have more psychological impact than any real gain on the ground.
Simply because while the SP had tried to set the narrative of ‘backwards leaving BJP’ after Swami Prasad Maurya, Dara Singh Chauhan and Dharam Singh Saini joined the party, the departure of Aparna has created an impression of cracks in the Yadav family. This is similar to the situation ahead of the 2017 assembly election when the fissures between Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Shivpal Yadav came out in the open.
The cracks widened after another Mulayam relative Shivpal quit the SP to form his own outfit, Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia (PSP-L). The BJP took advantage of the family feud and presented Akhilesh as someone who was “incapable” of managing the state as he couldn’t even solve his family dispute. Though this was not the sole reason behind SP’s drubbing in the 2017 elections, the family feud was the talking point at that time.
Ahead of the 2022 assembly elections, the switching of Aparna Yadav from Samajwadi Party to BJP after she did not reportedly get any promise of a ticket from Akhilesh, is being seen by political experts as the background of the narrative that there are cracks in the Yadav family.
Aparna’s joining coincided also with PSP-L chief Shivpal Yadav’s tweet that contradicted speculations that he was talking to BJP leaders. “There is no truth in (former UP BJP chief) Laxmikant Bajpayi’s claim that I can join BJP. This claim is completely baseless and devoid of facts. I am with the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party alliance and exhort my supporters to uproot the BJP government from the state to ensure that SP forms the government,” he tweeted.
Aparna Bisht Yadav joining BJP was not just an isolated case of a Yadav clan member switching over to the saffron camp. She is the third relative of the Yadav heads of SP and second woman member to have joined the BJP. Pramod Gupta is yet another relative of Mulayam Singh Yadav who has joined the BJP.
Before Aparna, Mulayam’s niece Sandhya Yadav, who is the elder daughter of his brother Abhay Ram Yadav and sister of former SP MP Dharmendra Yadav, already defected to the BJP. Besides, it was only a week ago when Mulayam’s grand nephew’s father-in-law and Siraganj (Firozabad) MLA Hari Om Yadav had defected to BJP. He is the brother of former Mainpuri MP Tej Pratap Yadav’s father-in-law, Ram Prakash. Yadav had joined BJP hours after UP minister Dara Singh Chauhan joined his colleague Swami Prasad Maurya in resigning from the Yogi Adityanath cabinet on 12 January.
Earlier, during the panchayat poll, Mulayam’s niece Sandhya Yadav contested as a BJP candidate from ward 18 (Ghiror III) in Mainpuri.
The assembly election in Uttar Pradesh will be held between 10 February and 7 March. The election results will be announced on 10 March.
On 16 January, the BJP had released its first list of 107 candidates for the first two phases of the state election on 10 and 14 February. On the list are 44 OBCs, including 16 Jats, followed by 43 from upper castes and 19 from the Scheduled Castes.