Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav faces huge challenge
Yadav faces the challenge of keeping the party as well as the family together because the Yadav family and the Samajwadi Party have so far existed more or less as one entity.
LUCKNOW: Yadav had taken over the reins of the party in 2017 but it is now that he will have to take on the responsibility of the family too.
The passing away of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh has increased the burden manifold on the frail shoulders of Akhilesh Yadav.
Akhilesh Yadav now faces the challenge of keeping the party as well as the family together because the Yadav family and the Samajwadi Party have so far existed more or less as one entity. The party has been the family and family is the party.
Till Mulayam Singh was alive, his word was command and no one in the party or the family dared to disobey him - even though Akhilesh was party chief.
Mulayam maintained a balance in family relationships and ensured political importance to every family member. It was Mulayam who built up the largest political dynasty in the country - one in which even women got representation.
While Mulayam remained undisputed leader of the clan, it is unlikely that Akhilesh will be accorded the same position - especially from the elders. His uncle Shivpal has already branched out on his own after five years of strained relationship with Akhilesh while younger sister-in-law Aparna Bisht Yadav has joined the BJP. Akhilesh now faces the uphill task of keeping the family together and ensuring that his elders, Shivpal included, do not turn hostile.
The manner in which Akhilesh's half-brother Prateek Yadav was "alienated" during the cremation of Mulayam Singh Yadav on Tuesday, does not augur well for the future of the family.
A family member who spoke on condition of anonymity, said on Wednesday, "In this hour of grief, the family has shown extreme restraint and dignity and now it is up to Akhilesh to give respect to elders and keep the flock together. Netaji (Mulayam) always wanted to keep the family together but failed to repair the relationship between Shivpal and Akhilesh and it was this that pained him the most."
"Mulayam Singh was a strong adhesive who kept the family and the party together and Akhilesh will have to make a Herculean effort to walk in his father's footsteps. The Lok Sabha elections are round the corner and his biggest test has just begun," said a party veteran. (IANS)