As you might know by now, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has sacked uncle and party chief Shivpal Yadav and three others from the state cabinet. In response, Rajya Sabha MP Ram Gopal Yadav was expelled from the party on the grounds that he was conspiring with the BJP. 

In case you’re tuning in late, here are the major players in this epic family drama that comes at the worst time for the Samajwadi Party that is already facing a tough election in Uttar Pradesh next year. 

Akhilesh Yadav

b’Akhilesh Yadav has been standing his ground on various issues | Source: PTI’

He became chief minister of Uttar Pradesh after being credited with the party’s victory in the 2012 state elections. But as elections have drawn close, Akhilesh has sought to enforce his authority in the party, only to spark a bitter family feud. 

Why he matters: Akhilesh is not just the chief minister but is also the party’s connect with the youth. He prides himself on his connection with the rank and file of the party and the youth. 

So what has Akhilesh done to drive his uncle and father against him? 

  • He openly opposed the alliance with gangster Mukhtar Ansari-led part Quami Ekta Dal that led to it being broken intially
  • He took away the public works department ministry from uncle Shivpal Yadav’s on September 13. Even after he was brought back he didn’t give his uncle the portfolio back immediately. 
  • He has criticised ‘outsiders’ for messing up things in the party. The ‘outsider’ barb was reportedly targeted at Amar Singh
  • He was said to be planning his own ‘Vikas Rath Yatra’ in the state and would skip the party’s silver jubilee celebrations
  • He sacked Shivpal Yadav from the cabinet again on October 23

Shivpal Yadav

b”Shivpal has been his brother’s aide for years | Source: PTI”

Mulayam Singh’s younger brother has been at the centre of the whole controversy. Even before he was expelled from the Samajwadi Party for his proximity to Amar Singh, he had been on the wrong side of Akhilesh Yadav multiple times. 

Why he matters: He’s a four-time MLA but has been a part of the Samajwadi Party and has been part of the party’s organisational politics for decades. He’s the man, who’s said to be behind the party’s organisation and mass base. 

Here’s how he’s been engaged in a running battle with Akhilesh Yadav: 

  • He engineered the alliance with the Quami Ekta Dal and brought back Amar Singh into the party
  • He was removed as public works department minister in September and responded by quitting as state party chief and minister
  • He sacked seven close associates of Akhilesh, including three Members of the Legislative Council after being reinstated as party chief. Akhilesh later accomodated them in his campaign team. 
  • He allocated tickets to nine new candidates and the replacement of 17 previously named candidates