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PariWar in Uttar Pradesh: Politics challenges kinship

LUCKNOW: Is political water really thicker than blood? The UP assembly elections have thrown up cases where differences in leanings within influential political families have come out widely in the open. So, while defection of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s younger daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav, his relatives – Hari Om Yadav and Pramod Gupta – to BJP hogged all the limelight, cases of brewing schism within other political families are also conspicuous in the current poll season.
The latest being the influential Shakya family in Auraiya. Here, Riya Shakya — daughter of rebel BJP MLA from Bidhuna Vinay Shakya, who switched over to SP — will contest as a BJP candidate from her father’s constituency. Riya’s inclination towards BJP had become apparent on January 11 when she released a video to show her “staunch support” to the party while claiming that her uncle Devesh Shakya forcibly took her ailing father to get him join SP.
Detailed coverageThis was the day when UP minister and BJP leader Swami Prasad Maurya revolted against the saffron outfit. Riya’s claim was, however, refuted by Vinay, who, along with Maurya, eventually joined SP on January 14. Riya’s rivals in the poll battle are likely to be either her father or uncle. SP is yet to announce its candidate from Bidhuna.

The political rift also hit the family of former Congress leader Imran Masood. While Imran moved to SP, terming it as the only political party which could challenge the might of BJP, his twin brother Noman Masood has crossed over to Maywati’s BSP and has even got a ticket to contest from Gangoh.
Noman had earlier joined RLD at the peak of farmers’ stir against the new farm laws. Both Imran and Noman had contested from Nakur and Gangoh assembly seats as Congress candidates in 2017 assembly elections. Imran lost to BJP’s Dharam Singh Saini, who has now defected to SP and has even got a ticket to contest from Nakur in the upcoming polls. Noman was defeated by BJP’s Pradeep Chaudhary.
So is the case with the family of Swami Prasad Maurya, whose daughter Sanghmitra Maurya dug in her heels and reposed faith in BJP and PM Modi. Sanghmitra, who is a BJP MP from Budaun, has been consistently taking to social media to laud the BJP and hashtagging “aayegi to BJP hi” (BJP will come back to power).
The differences of opinion also hit the family of BSP MP from Ambedkarnagar, Ritesh Pandey, earlier this month when his father and former BSP MP Rakesh Pandey defected to SP. Considered to have a hold on upper castes in Ambedkarnagar, Rakesh’s defection was seen as a significant blow to Mayawati who has gone back to her tried and tested social engineering formula of Dalit, Brahmin unity that propelled her to power with absolute majority for the first time in 2007.
Political experts consider this as a sign of “maturity of democracy”. “It is a good sign to see people giving priority to their political leanings and acting accordingly,” said Prof Ramesh Dixit, retired head of the political science department in Lucknow University.

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