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The Yadav clan, one of the biggest political families in the country, will come together on November 22 to celebrate the 82nd birthday of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. While the occasion will serve as a family reunion for estranged uncle and nephew Shivpal Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav, the former may have to wait a little longer for a political reunion with the SP.

Shivpal and Akhilesh had parted ways personally and politically five years ago when the former, Mulayam’s younger brother, broke away and floated his own party, allegedly upset over his diminishing stature in the Samajwadi Party. The two have, however, patched up since with Akhilesh tipped to announce a tie-up, or even a merged indeed, with Shivpal’s Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia (PSPL) ahead of Uttar Pradesh elections 2022.

The deal was earlier expected to be sealed at Mulayam’s birthday celebrations, but with Akhilesh ruling out any “political work” that day, Shivpal may have to wait some more.

Echoing Akhilesh Yadav’s sentiment, SP spokesperson Abdul Hafiz Gandhi said, “Netaji’s birthday celebration is more a social function where party functionaries gather to seek his blessings and guidance. It’s not a political program. Therefore, we observe it as a social ceremony. Political things can be discussed on other occasions. All decisions with regard to alliances are taken by our national president. Only he is authorised to enter into political alliances. We declare these alliances as and when they are finalised.”

In recent days, Akhilesh Yadav has said that he holds “utmost respect” for his uncle Shivpal and that his party will enter into alliance with the PSPL. Shivpal, too, has been keen on entering into alliance with the SP.

“The Samajwadi Party has continuously been trying to bring together regional and small parties for 2022 UP polls. Many such outfits have come along with the SP. Recently, OP Rajbhar had organised a historic programme in Mau and announced his association with us. The SP will try to ally with more regional and small outfits. It is obvious that Chacha (Shivpal) also has a political party, we will try to ally with him also and he will get maximum respect from the Samajwadi people. I want to assure you of that,” Akhilesh had said while speaking to the media on Diwali in his ancestral village Saifai in Etawah district.

Political experts are of the view that Akhilesh would not want to make his father’s birthday celebration a political spectacle to avoid any throwback to the bitter family feud from 2017.

Speaking to News18, political commentator and veteran journalist Ratan Mani Lal said, “It is clear that Akhilesh wants to use this occasion to portray himself as an obedient son. He doesn’t want to spend the day fielding political questions and reminders of the 2017 friction within the family.”

“It is important for Akhilesh at the moment that he goes into the elections with a clean slate. The family feud is kind of a black spot for him. If the occasion (Mulayam’s birthday) is political, then all these questions will be raised. Akhilesh doesn’t want to overshadow the occasion with such questions,” added Ratan Mani Lal.

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