What happened in Samajwadi Party(SP) office on Monday evening is a clear indication that all is not well in the Party and even in the first family of the Party. The SP had organised Roza-Iftar on Monday evening which is considered to be a mega show for the Party as Muslims form the bulwark of Party’s support group. But the Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and his younger brother skipped the event.
This has never happened in the Party since its inception. Mulayam and Shivpal have attended all the Iftars. Both were active in Iftar parties and used to receive clerics and ensure that all rozedars have offered prayers and broken fast as per religious norms. In last year’s Iftar, Mulayam Singh Yadav was unwell but despite that he attended it. He had then said “attending Iftar is the biggest Ibadat for me and can never think of skipping it. I am ill still I am here.” He was there for 10 minutes and left as soon as Iftar started. Mulayam’s commitment had won many hearts.
This year the event was the same but he stayed at his home which is less than a kilometre from the Party office at Vikramadatya Marg where it was organised. Two days before that he was in Delhi and had returned to Lucknow on Monday noon. Party leaders were confident that once Neta ji (as Mulayam is known among the Party workers) is in town he would definitely come for Iftar. Their hopes were dashed. Akhilesh Yadav waited for Mulayam for 10 minutes. He sent a messenger to 5, Vikramaditya Marg, but when it became clear that Neta ji will not come, the Iftar started.
Insiders say that Mulayam Singh is angry with Akhilesh because he had rejected his (Mulayam’s) proposal to accommodate Shivpal Singh Yadav in the Party. Akhilesh reportedly did not like Shivpal Singh Yadav building bridges with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Shivpal Yadav had met Yogi twice and had given a statement that BJP government should be given six months’ time before opposition starts dissecting his work. He has also questioned Shivpal’s statement about launching a new party. Akhilesh believes that when Shivpal has made up his mind to leave SP, then why he should share power with Shivpal. But his argument has not gone well with Mulayam.
Shivpal Singh Yadav had left for Etawah a day earlier. Another important leader who missed the Iftar was Md Azam Khan – the Muslim face of Samajwadi Party. He stayed back in Rampur. Eye brows were not raised at Azam Khan’s absence as he had skipped Iftar organised by Samajwadi Party on previous occasions too. Insiders say, this time Akhilesh Yadav had personally invited him and Azam Khan had promised that he would attend the Iftar.
Senior leaders avoided questions about Mulayam and Shivpal’s absence. Party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhry said, “Over 25,000 people attended Iftar. Many prominent clerics came. This is a big achievement for us.”
Among old timers, only Beni Prasad Verma attended SP’s Iftar.