Uttar Pradesh polls: Rebels, new alliances add to the confusion

Battlelines are still being drawn in UP, with rebels and new alliances defying clarity. A sulking Shivpal Yadav offers to campaign for SP rebels; BSP chief Mayawati tries to capitalise on SP divisions

Photo by Deepak Gupta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Deepak Gupta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Biswajeet Banerjee

Not all is well in the Samajwadi Parivar. Not only were Mulayam Singh Yadav and Shivpal Singh Yadav missing from the party office when Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav released the party manifesto, it is not clear if the duo will campaign for party candidates. Not missing the opportunity, Lok Dal leader Sunil Singh alleged that Mulayam Singh Yadav was under ‘house arrest’ in Lucknow.

Shivpal Singh Yadav does not figure in the party’s list of star campaigners submitted to the Election Commission. Rajya Sabha MP and veteran Samajwadi Beni Prasad Verma is also missing from the list, presumably because his son Rakesh, denied a ticket, is expected to join the Lok Dal.

The list, though, includes the names of virtually everyone in the Yadav clan including Dimple Yadav, Ram Gopal Yadav, Akshay Yadav, Dharmendra Yadav and Tej Pratap Singh Yadav.

Significantly, Shivpal Yadav issued a statement from Etawah stating that whoever invited him to campaign, he would oblige. “I am there to help any Samajwadi leader irrespective of whether he has got ticket from SP or not in the election. I am just a call away from you,” the statement read.

Several Shivpal loyalists have been denied a ticket, including Ambika Chaudhry, Shadab Fatima, Guddu Pandit, Narad Rai and Vijay Mishra. While Ambika Chaudhry has already joined Bahujan Samaj Party, Shadab Fatima and Narad Rai too are said to be following him. Vijay Mishra has declared that he will contest the election on a Lok Dal ticket while Guddu Pandit and his brother Mukesh have been given a ticket by Rashtriya Lok Dal.


Mayawati is using the differences in the Samajwadi family to bolster her party’s position, particularly in eastern Uttar Pradesh. All these leaders who have been denied ticket by Akhilesh are from eastern UP. Their joining BSP is expected to make a dent in eastern UP.

There is intense speculation that BSP is likely to forge an alliance with Qaumi Ekta Dal, led by mafia-turned politician Mukhtar Ansari. Sources say that QED leader Afzal Ansari met senior BSP leaders after Akhilesh denied tickets to the Ansari brothers. “The blue print of the alliance is ready. It will be announced once it is cleared by Mayawati,” a source in the BSP claimed.

Akhilesh Yadav was opposed to any pre-poll alliance with QED because it is led by Afzal Ansari, the brother of Mukhtar Ansari. Interestingly, during the family tussle when EC had asked for affidavits from legislators supporting Akhilesh Yadav, the law makers from QED had extended their support to him.

“BSP is also working on uniting Dalits and Muslims. While the Congress-SP alliance is likely to make a dent in BSP’s support base, an alliance with QED would be a win-win position for both,” explained the BSP insider. BSP has fielded 97 Muslims candidates and hopes to give a tough fight to its rivals in Western UP. An alliance with QED will strengthen its challenge in eastern UP too, he felt.

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