Mulayam’s Third Generation’s Entry Into Power Politics
Brothers, son, daughter-in-law, nephews and now grand nephew—with the grand victory of Tej Pratap Singh Yadav from Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat, and Samajwadi Party’s victory on eight of the 11 Vidhan Sabha seats in the by-elections held in the state on September 13, Socialist leader and Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav has silently led his family’s Third Generation lieutenants into the family business of power politics. Tej Pratap defeated his nearest rival BJP’s Prem Kumar Shakya by a huge margin of 3.21lakh votes. He was just 11,000 votes less than what great uncle Mulayam had got when he won from this seat in the general elections this April. Mulayam had quit Mainpuri and opted to retain Azamgarh from where he had also won with a huge margin.
In the initial stage of his political career in the eighties, it was the brothers whom Mulayam Singh cultivated for the party. The most powerful being Prof Ram Gopal Yadav, party’s national general secretary and present MP from Sambhal and Shivpal Yadav, now number two in nephew Akhilesh Yadav’s government in Uttar Pradesh.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who was earlier leader of SP’s youth brigade was stirred into mainstream politics and won the Vidhan Sabha elections with a thumping majority in 2012. The tradition of family women never entering politics was also broken by Mulayam when he groomed daughter-in-law Dimple for a political role. She lost the first time she contested but second time successfully contested and won as MP from Kannauj.
While three of Yadav brothers chose to chase their political dreams the other three—Rattan Singh, Abhay Ram Yadav and Rajpal Singh Yadav—stayed put in the ancestral village of Safai and tended to the family business of agriculture and dairy. But Mulayam ensured that in the due course of time they also got their share in politics, if not directly, indirectly through their sons and grandsons. While Dharmedra, son of Abhay Ram, is MP from Badaun, Akshay Yadav is son of Prof Gopal Yadav. The latest to join politics bandwagon is Mulayam’s elder brother, the late Ratan Singh’s grandson Tej Pratap. And ready, all poised to step out into the political arena is son Prateek from his second wife and daughter-in-law Aparna. Armed with foreign degrees and confidence that comes from being part of the family business the stage seems all set for the Generation X to take over.
Mulayam’s Kin In Politics
- Mulayam Singh Yadav—MP from Azamgarh. Founder of Samajwadi Party
- Ram Gopal Yadav (brother)—MP from Sambhal
- Shivpal Singh Yadav ( brother)—PWD minister
- Akhilesh Yadav(son)—Chief Minister of UP
- Dimple (daughter-in—law), MP from Kannauj.
- Dharmendra Yadav (nephew, son of Abhay Ram Yadav)—MP from Budaun
- Akshay Yadav (nephew, son of Prof Ram Gopal Yadav )—MP from Firozabad
- Tej Pratap Yadav (grand nephew)—Elected MP from Mainpuri.
Leeds University graduate, with masters in management Tej Pratap, 26, the latest and eighth entrant to politics, was Mulayam’s election agent in last Lok Sabha elections. His entry into direct politics came as no surprise. Rattan Singh died in April this year when the electioneering for the general elections was in full swing. Master politician Mulayam like always stepped forward. In fact the entire family rallied around the young man to ensure that Tej Pratap won. Despite the fact that Mainpuri is the Yadav political burrow and Mulayam, especially enjoys unparalled clout and respect here he did not want to leave anything to chance. Mulayam, Akhilesh and Shivpal conducted meetings and rallies, and established contact with people in the constituency, already fertile with the seeds of Yadav’s favours.
In Mainpuri, neither the BSP nor the Congress had fielded their candidates. It was a straight fight between Tej Pratap Singh and BJP’s Prem Singh Shakiya. Out of the 12.3 lakh voters, 35 per cent are Yadavs, nearly 10 per cent are Muslims. Mulayam’s victory margin was 3.5 lakh. BJP’s strategy to polarise the elections failed and so did their plan to field a Shakya candidate. There are nearly 3 lakh Shakya voters here, second largest after Yadav. While Shakya, a former Samjwadi who later donned Mayawati’s blue and then chose BJP’s saffron, failed to evoke any emotional connect with the electorate the disinterest in their candidate by the BJP also proved to be his undoing. No big BJP leader came to Mainpuri to campaign for Shakya. This paved a smooth victory for Tej Pratap.
“Mainpuri ko yeh fakr hain key hum yaha sey Mulayam Singh ko chuntey hain (Mainpuri is proud that they return Mulayam Singh from here),” said Muzammil Mirza, a social worker and die-hard Samajwadi supporter after he returned casting his vote in the by-polls.
“The development of Mainpuri would have come to a grinding halt if any other party other than SP comes to power here,” a Hindi daily scribe said with conviction after the results were announced.
Eleven Assembly seats fell vacant after 10 BJP MLAs and one of its ally, Apna Dal, were elected to the Lok Sabha. The 11 Assembly seats where by-polls were held include Saharanpur city, Bijnor, Thakurd-wara, Noida, Nighasan Lucknow east, Hamirpur, Charkhari, Sirathu, Balha and Rohania. Eye-brows had been raised when in the April 2014 general elections Mulayam had chosen to contest from Azamgarh seat also along with his traditional Mainpuri seat, from where he has been returned five times successfully. Mulayam’s opponents were quick to attribute this move to shaky prospects in home turf Mainpuri. But it is clear after just four months that the master wrestler had a political strategy in mind. While he was cultivating Mainpuri for Tej Pratap by retaining Azamgarh—a Muslim-dominated constituency—Maulana Mulayam, as he is popularly know among the minorities pleased the Muslims and ensured a smooth entry for Tej Pratap in Yadav’s pocket borough Mainpuri—master knock by seasoned wrestler indeed.
While Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat was a case of personal and family pride, the victory in the 8 Vidhan Sabha seats also is like oxygen for the party that has of late been facing a lot of criticism for its anti-people’s policies. SP top leadership has worked hard , thrown out officers who were careless (former chief secretary Javed Usmani is the most apt example), kept leaders like Mohd Azam Khan known to shoot his mouth off at the slightest. The result is—a thumping victory for the Samajwadis in these by-elections. The stage is now all set for the 2017 elections.
By Kulsum Mustafa from Lucknow