Akhilesh would just want to laugh off Aparna Yadav’s BJP shift

Though the BJP celebrates Aparna Yadav’s arrival, SP leader Akhilesh Yadav would want to simply dismiss it with a smile

The Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh seems to be facing an internal squabble. No we don’t mean in-fighting in the party. It isn’t at least so at the moment. The trouble is within Akhilesh Yadav’s family.

With Aparna Yadav, the daughter-in-law of former UP Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, switching over to the rival BJP camp, it looks like Samajwadi Party has been forced to go on a back foot, all of a sudden.

This shift in allegiance coming just days ahead of the Assembly polls could be a blow for the SP. But does Akhilesh Yadav admit that it is a blow, is another question!

When Haryana BJP party in-charge Arun Yadav hopped on to Twitter to announce that Aparna Yadav, the wife of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s younger son Pratik, will join BJP on Wednesday in the presence of Yogi Adityanath, the Bharatiya Janata Party needs to be seen as just handing out a fitting retort to SP for having taken in three of its ministers and several MLAs after they quit the party.

Does Aparna Yadav’s exit matter for SP?

For the BJP, Aparna Yadav’s entry into BJP could be a trouble shooting exercise as it had seen some damage handed to it when the minister and MLAs jumped over to the SP. It may be recalled that Swami Prasad Maurya, Dharam Singh Saini, and Dara Singh Chauhan – three ministers in the current Adityanath cabinet – and a bunch of MLAs had switched over to the SP from the BJP. The ridicule that BJP faced over the development has been demoralising. Aparna Yadav’s entry into the BJP is seen as an opportunity for damage control by the saffron leaders in the state.

But does Aparna Yadav switching over to the BJP spell trouble for Akhilesh and the Samajwadi Party he leads? No, would be the answer. For Aparna Yadav is an inconsequential figure in the current political scheme of things.

Aparna had fought the 2017 Assembly pols on a Samajwadi Party ticket from Lucknow Cantt. But she failed to see success and finished second after Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who had quit the Congress then to join the BJP. If one looks at her claim to fame, it would be because she had been grabbing headlines in the state media for her praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development initiatives.  She also helms an organisation called bAware, which works for women’s issues and also runs a shelter for cows in Lucknow.

Besides these, she is a non-entity. And, that could exactly be the reason that Akhilesh Yadav is smiling even after news of her switching over to the BJP came about.

Akhilesh happy that SP ideology reaches BJP camp

Akhilesh Yadav’s reaction to the news of Aparna Yadav shifting loyalty to the BJP is classic. He reacted to the news with a thanks to the BJP and congratulated Aparna saying that he is happy that the Samajwadi Party’s ideology is spreading. He said he was sure that the SP ideology will reach BJP and spread democracy there!

That is what Aparna Yadav’s BJP entry means to Akhilesh. The SP has been building its strength as it gets to engage BJP in a fight for the Assembly by picking the right candidates and getting into alliances that matter.  He has already got the backing of Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and Sharad Pawar’s NCP. The alliance is expected to go a long way, as the parties are trying to put together an anti-BJP front ahead of the Lok Sabha polls scheduled for year 2024.

So when UP goes to the polls in seven phases between February 10 and March 7, Samajwadi Party doesn’t see any impact made by Aparna Yadav’s move. The BJP, however, doesn’t think so. The saffron camp believes they have made a great catch. Try saying that t Akhilesh Yadav, and he would probably laugh it off.

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