Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav might be calling the shots in his party, but in the confines of his home in Lucknow, his second daughter-in-law Aparna is believed to have had her way in compelling the entire Yadav clan to award her a party ticket for the 2017 Uttar Pradesh polls.
According to insiders, Aparna refused to give in to pressures from within the family to keep off politics. She managed arm-twist her way to get herself declared as the party nominee for a key seat in the state capital.
A formal announcement to that effect was made here on Sunday (March 27) afternoon by none other than Mulayam’s younger brother Shivpal Yadav, who, besides holding multiple key portfolios in the Akhilesh Yadav cabinet, was also seen as Akhilesh’s key rival in the power game within the Yadav clan.
Aparna will be the SP candidate from the Lucknow Cantt Assembly seat which is currently held by former state Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi. Earlier, the seat remained for several successive terms with the BJP.
Married to Mulayam’s younger son Prateek, Aparna never made any bones about airing her political ambitions. She was known to have at times even caused embarrassment to Akhilesh by issuing public statements in favour of some top BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But lately, she went a step further by plastering the city roads on International Women’s Say with her own hoardings, proclaiming herself as some kind of a torchbearer of women’s rights.
Sure enough, that was done with the intent of boosting her profile, which she has been desperately trying to match with that of Akhilesh’s wife Dimple, who was a Lok Sabha member from Kannauj. Even as the two daughters-in-law were poles apart – the older one known for her grace and sobriety – Aparna rarely missed an opportunity to hog the limelight even if meant crossing the line.
If insiders were to be believed, Aparna went to the extent of issuing veiled threats within the family that if she was denied a SP ticket, she would not hesitate to defy the family and cross over to the BJP. Chief minister Akhilesh, who is also the state SP president, was in no mood to give in to any “blackmail”, but father Mulayam thought it best to do the balancing act by conceding the demand of the belligerent daughter-in-law. While the announcement would have routinely been made by the state unit of the party, it was done hurriedly by uncle Shivpal, who had always been supportive of Aparna.
Interestingly, Shivpal sought to give the decision a routine colour by terming it as a continuation of the poll exercise that began with Friday’s (March 25) declaration of the party’s list of nominees for 142 of the state’s 403 Assembly seats.
Significantly, these seats were among those lost by the SP in 2012. And most of the declared nominees were restive aspirants, who were dying for a political status within the party hierarchy. Close on its heels came the announcement of Aparna’s nomination.
About a year ago, Aparna had resorted to the same arm-twisting to get a Type VI government accommodation allotted in the name of a NGO headed by her. That was shortly after one bungalow was earmarked and allotted to Akhilesh for his post-chief ministerial days in pursuance of a convention of allotment of a house to all ex-chief ministers.
Aparna is the daughter of a journalist who was given one of the ten coveted positions of state information commissioner, after about a year of the installation of the Akhilesh government.
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