Mulayam Singh Yadav campaigned only for his brother Shivpal and daughter-in-law Aparna
While campaigning for Uttar Pradesh elections is at its peak, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has stepped out only for two rallies this time. In contrast, he had addressed at least 300 rallies during the 2012 elections.
The 77-year-old Samajwadi Party patriarch has this time campaigned only for his brother Shivpal Yadav and daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav. Being politely sidestepped by his son and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav in the struggle to control the party, he had said he would not campaign in this election after the alliance with the Congress was announced.
The merger gave the SP's political rivals an opportunity to take jibes at Mulayam Singh and his brother Shivpal.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, while addressing an election rally at Ballia, had said, "SP patron Mulayam has punctured the bicycle, while Shivpal has broken the chain of the bicycle."
Similarly, BSP chief Mayawati, during an election rally in Ballia, said, "Mulayam seems to have been affected by putra-moh (blind love for son), and has even insulted his brother Shivpal."
Senior BJP leader Hriday Narayan Dikshit, said, "The moment Mulayam Singh Yadav was made the party patron, his power automatically got diluted. And, despite this, if he is getting a chance to campaign for even two assembly seats, he must thank his stars."
While his supporters feel that Yadav senior has lost his position in the party, socialist Raghunandan Singh Kaka, said, "The SP patron has become helpless and virtually hopeless."
Raghunandan Singh also condemned the SP's alliance with the Congress and said that Akhilesh Yadav has moved away from the ideology of Ram Manohar Lohia, the guiding light of the Samajwadi Party.
"Akhilesh seems to have lost his way, and is yet to find a way out," he said.
Lok Dal president Sunil Singh said it is really unfortunate that the SP, which was founded by Yadav senior doesn't have his 'blessings' anymore.
"What is more ironical is the fact that Mr Akhilesh today has embraced the Congress, against which his father had waged a political war throughout his life," Sunil Singh said.
Defending Mulayam Singh's position in the party and that his clout wasn't diminishing, SP lawmaker from Badaun, Dharmendra Yadav, said, "We have the blessings of Netaji. In fact, each and every candidate of the SP-Congress alliance has been blessed by Netaji. So, there is no question of Netaji's clout getting weakened."
The Badaun MP, who is Mr Mulayam's nephew, claimed that even the SP-Congress pre-poll alliance had the blessings and approval of Mr Mulayam.