He seemed at peace, the forehead lines were less tense and his speech was laced with a lightness of mood and determination of purpose. It was after nearly a year of, ‘won’t he, will he’ debate all over the country that Shivpal Yadav, the hitherto number two in the Samajwadi Party had made his formal political debutante. Leaving nothing to speculations Shivpal launched his own political outfit-the Pragitisheel Samajwadi Party (PSP) Lohia.
His “Jan aakrosh’ rally on December 9 at Ramabai Amedkar Maidan, in Lucknow, had made the desired impact. Days before the rally the walls of the city were plastered with very strategically planned posters, where Shivpal was projected as a messiah of the wronged. Shivpal had sounded the war bugle, a direct threat to his nephew Akhilesh Yadav, former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, and national president of the Samajwadi Party.
“Merey paas kya aur koyee vikalp tha. Mainey bahut intizaar kiya. Main akhir kitna apmaan sehta.(Did I have any other alternative. I waited for long. How much more humiliation could I suffer), said Shivpal, right at the start of this exclusive interview at his plush bunglow, situated on Vikramaditya Marg. Comfortably seated on a beautifully sculptured green chair, the opulent décor in muted shades of grey and white imparted a sobriety to the atmosphere, the man of few words seems to have now acquired eloquence .
Shivpal did not mince words to express his disappointment at the way the socialist foundation of the Samajwadi Party was eroded and no heed paid to advise of elders like him or founder even the party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav. He said after selflessly serving the party right from the time when it started till the time he was made to exit it he has always stood like a rock been through thick and thin with brother Mulayam for over 40 years. But it was shameful the way he was treated and was literally pushed against the wall.
His contribution was totally ignored, he was insulted and literally uprooted from the place he had help build. This he says he could not tolerate and with a heavy heart he finally parted ways.
However he asserts that PSP Lohia is not directed against any party or person but is against the system where the common man fails to get his due. He said it is a political platform of pure socialism all about the anger and frustration of the common man.
He claims that he has seasoned and not greenhorn politicians, many from Samajwadi Party itself behind him.
“Mere saath mazbooth socialist sipahee hai, yeh vipreet paristeteyoo may bhi mere saath khadey rahey aur aaj bhi saath hai,”(I have strong socialist soldiers in my team, they have stood by me in all the adverse conditions and are also standing with me today), said Shivpal.
One really does not know how long things have been simmering but the tussel for political power within the family took a heavy toll during 2017- 2018. had certainly been a bad years for the powerful Yadav clan. Hurt, cornered and at a loss for balance Shivpal Yadav who held the realm of power for decades and was a shadow of his brother Mulayam, was pushed back and literally shown the door.
But does it not disturb him when he hears that he is being labeled as one who is giving strength to the BJP by launching his party and weakening the anti-BJP forces.
“Bilkul nahi. Mainey rally may bhi yeh kaha tha hum BJP key saath nahi jaeygay, (Not at all. I had declared it from public address that we will not align with the BJP),” said Shivpal.
Whom are you going to align with politically? “Musalmaan, naujawan aur kisan, (Muslims, youth and farmers), said Shival adding that he touch with several smaller political outfits who have shown interest in joining the PSP Lohia. His party he claims will adhere to all the principles of socialism.
He claimed that his ‘advisors’ are experienced and learned people who care for these socialist principles and are loyal to him and party. Unlike in Samajwadi Party his supporters are not sycophants.
Shivpal describes his contribution to the party and how there was total development in all the important departments which he held. As irrigation minister he ensured adequate water to all rivers, many dams were built and the Chakbandi laws were fully implemented.
“Mainey apna kaam puree nishta aur imandaari sey kiya. Kya yeh hi mere apradh tha (I did my work with total dedication and honesty. Was this my crime,” asks the minister as he shows me a photocopy of a Hindi poem he has composed with the title “yeh apradh tha key main unkey saath tha.” (this was my crime that I was with them.”
In his inimitable style he reads out the poem and says that in his last public address he received a tremendous response when he recited this poem that he has composed from emotions deep in his heart.
He said that after he finished reading the poem he asked the audience a very simple question, “Kya aap mere saath hain Kya main aagey badoo?” (are you all with me, should I step forward).
It was the tremendous response in the positive that he got from the public that made him confident that he was on the right path and that he had there support. “Aur phir main chal pada, aur ab koyee bhi taqat mujhe koyee rokh nahi sakta,” (And then I stepped forward and started walking and now there is no force that can stop me.)
Bollywood lyric on betrayal hurts Shivpal
One full year has passed by. It was on January 1, 2017, at the customary New Year dinner hosted by Shivpal Yadav for media, when he had expressed his pain and agony by lisping a Bollywood lyric ‘qasmay vadey pyaar wafa sub wadey hain wadoo ka kya, koi kisi ka nahi ye jhoothe naate hain naaton ka kya,” before the Fourth Estate.
Earlier in the day, at an impromptu national conventional called by Dr Ram Gopal Yadav, the Samajwadi Party had been split into two. While Shivpal had been reduced to practically a non entity, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was anointed as the national president, the post hereby held by his father and founder of the party, Mulayam Singh Yadav. A resolution had passed been passed for the removal of Shivpal as Party’s state chief.
The fast emerging political drama in Uttar Pradesh had acquired grave dimensions in the last week of 2016. A heavy gloom set in the Mulayam–Shivpal camp. Power had been wrestled unceremoniously and so quickly. It was hardly the appropriate time for any celebrations or rejoicing.
At the venue there was no stampede, no high profile guests, no overflowing gun totting security. These were all indications of a low key affair in the evening. The mood did not change even when the host entered the venue. His evergreen smile today looked rather forced, his aura lacking the VVIP crispness, even the security in attendance seemed remarkably relaxed….as if there was no need to be too alert.
The diminutive ex Indian Idol singer was reeling out the Bollywood popular song in a voice that could not be ignored. He greeted the bigwig host calling him Dabang, Brave and a promoter of culture. There was no stopping this youngster as he showered praise after praise on Shivpal. Soon he declared that in his show he always got the host to sing too. His requests turned cheeky and vociferous and many in the hall feared that he was biting more than what he could chew. Changing his tone he declared””ok if you will not sing let me sing a song of your choice.”
There was a stony silence … everyone held their breath… maybe the master of ceremonies has gone too far this time. But much to everyone’s surprise Shivpal conceded to his request. “Sing. Qasmey waadey pyaar wafaa sab baatein hain baaton ka kya, koi kisi ka nahi ye jhoothe naate hain naaton ka kya,” (An old popular Hindi lyric describing betrayal and broken promises and relationship)
There was another silence, followed by thunderous clapping and cheering. The teenage singer and team looked up the lyrics and tuned the instruments and low and behold soon the hall was vibrating with his melodious voice. Shivpal — known as a man of few words — had chosen a Bollywood song to express his sadness, his broken heart and his pathos. The media persons all rushed to the front …soon Shivpal was lisping the lyrics with the singer. Mobile cameras flashed and few with TV cameras (it was a dinner mind u).
That was last year. This year it seemed Shivpal has scripted his own show.