Lucknow: Akhilesh Yadav's rebel list of 235 Samajwadi Party candidates for the Uttar Pradesh elections names no one for the Lucknow Cantt seat. That detail stands out because the seat has been earmarked by Mr Yadav's father and party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav for Aparna, the wife of his second son Prateek.
- Akhilesh Yadav's list does'nt include the Lucknow Cantt Seat
- Mulayam Singh earmarked the seat for his second son Prateek's wife Aparna
- Aparna Yadav is seen as part of the Shivpal Yadav camp
Mulayam Singh had named 26-year-old Aparna Yadav as the Samajwadi Party candidate from Lucknow Cantt about a year ago. Aparna is seen as part of the Shivpal Yadav camp in a party now split down the middle by the bitter power tussle between Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Shivpal.
In that feud, Mulayam Singh has invariably sided with his brother Shivpal and Akhilesh Yadav's supporters allege that Sadhna Gupta, the party chief's second wife and the Chief Minister's step mother, has instigated him against his oldest son.
They also believe that Aparna Yadav's political ambitions extend to becoming the young face of the Samajwadi Party in place of Akhilesh and even perhaps its candidate for Chief Minister eventually.
A few months ago, as the Akhilesh-Shivpal feud peaked and became public as a series of ugly spats, Udayveer Singh, a party lawmaker who is close to Akhilesh Yadav, wrote to Mulayam Singh suggesting that close members of his family were targeting the Chief Minister. It was seen as a reference to the party chief's wife and Mulayam Singh was very displeased.
Aparna Yadav is a visible face in Lucknow Cantt constituency, which is currently held by Rita Bahuguna Joshi. The Samajwadi Party has never won the Lucknow seat. Sources said she had sought a safe Samajwadi Party seat to contest in her first election, but had to settle for Lucknow Cantt and has since been campaigning there hard.
The easy political career afforded to Akhilesh Yadav's wife Dimple, who is a member of parliament, is said to be a sore point for Aparna, who believes she has had to work much harder. Her husband Prateek, 28, runs a fitness business and is not very active politically, but the Akhilesh camp alleges that he too has played a role in the growing divide between his father and older brother.
Aparna Yadav has earlier made news for her open support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi when she and her husband Prateek took a selfie with him in 2015 at Mulayam Singh Yadav's grandson's wedding in Mainpuri. She had also been very vocal about her support for all the BJP programmes.