Lucknow: Evan as acrimony, bitter exchanges and personal attacks on Monday marked a meeting of Samajwadi Party leaders, bringing to the fore the high-voltage power struggle in the first family, the name of Sadhna Gupta has come to the fore as one of the players behind the tussle.
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's first wife and the mother of Akhilesh Yadav, Malti Yadav passed away in 2003.
It is said that Sadhna got the status of Mulayam's wife the same year but as per reports it is not known as to when they exactly married.
They have a son, Prateek, who was born in 1988.
However, as per India Today, many blame Sadhna for the recent tussle between party patriarch Mulayam and Akhilesh.
The storm reportedly started building up soon after the 2012 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, After the elections, Sadhna and Shivpal Yadav (younger brother of SP chief) wanted Mulayam to become the CM.
However, Mulayam was keen on Akhilesh's name.
The report further said that many believe in the allegations levelled by Udayveer Singh who had alleged that Sadhna tried to mobilise SP leaders in 2012 to prevent Akhilesh from becoming CM.
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Singh, who is said to be a close associate of Akhilesh, is now suspended MLC. He was expelled from the party for six years after he wrote a letter to Mulayam in support of Akhilesh.
On the other hand, the UP CM did not refute the allegations levelled by the MLC.
This, the report said, has upset Mulayam.
(Udayveer in his letter had asked Mulayam to step down in favour of his son. At the same time, Singh had also written that his second wife was hatching controversy against Akhilesh, as per The Times of India. Moreover, he had attacked Shivpal and accused uncle and Sadhna of collusion. Singh had alleged that the UP CM was being subjected to black magic, as per media reports.)
The SP supremo is said to have taken any attack on Sadhna and Shivpal as a challenge to his authority.
Meanwhile, Sadhna supposedly wants to have a place of significance in the Samajwadi family.
She is said to have entered Mulayam's Lucknow residence only after Akhilesh's mother died. At the same time, she got a separate house constructed for herself in Saifai village.
Further, Sadhna is now working behind the scene to establish her daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav, as per the media house, with son Prateek not keen on pursuing active politics,
India Today quoted sources in the party as saying that Lucknow Cantonment seat has been finalised to launch Aparna into politics in the next election. This apparently points to Sadhna's increasing insecurity, as per some observers.
As for Akhilesh, he is said to have understood the fact that without having a good hold on the party, he cannot secure his political future.
Earlier today, the feud in SP came out into the open in full public view during which Mulayam sided with Shivpal and friend Amar Singh, and reprimanded son Akhilesh but ruled out his removal as CM.
The bitter power struggle in SP's first family played out on stage at a meeting called by Mulayam of party legislators, MPs and other leaders where Akhilesh, blowing hot and cold, first offered to step down in a choked voice but later accused Amar Singh and those close to him of hatching a "conspiracy" against him and his father.
There were sharp exchanges between Akhilesh and Mulayam, who virtually dismissed him as an insignificant entity in UP politics who could not win an election without his support.
"What is your capability? Can you win elections?" he said, snapping at Akhilesh, as per PTI.
There were ugly scenes and name-calling, with Shivpal, the state SP chief, snatching microphone from Akhilesh and calling him a liar, only to make a dramatic appearance at the CM's residence hours later. The nephew-uncle duo drove in the same car to meet party patriarch Mulayam, who was said to be having a severe toothache, surprising many.
Party observers said the meeting could have been at the behest of Mulayam, who had earlier in the day wished that Akhilesh and Shivpal transcended all differences and hugged each other.
The bile-filled exchanges between top SP leaders came a day after the continuing battle of attrition between Akhilesh and his uncle Shivpal saw the CM sacking Shivpal and three other ministers close to him, and Mulayam striking back with vengeance expelling from the party for six years his cousin Ram Gopal Yadav. Ram Gopal, a Rajya Sabha member, has been backing Akhilesh in his fight against Shivpal.
Addressing the gathering Akhilesh ruled out forming a new party, a claim which Shivpal disputed, saying he was prepared to "swear" by his son and "Ganga jal" that the Chief Minister had told him he would indeed float a new party and contest the assembly polls in alliance with some political party.
(With Agency inputs)