Mainpuri (UP): Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) president Shivpal Singh Yadav has said it was a phone call from "daughter-in-law" Dimple Yadav that prompted him to campaign for her for the upcoming Mainpuri bypoll.
The veteran leader also said he has told Dimple Yadav to be his witness ("gavah") if Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav does something wrong with him again.
Amid a deteriorating relationship with nephew Akhilesh Yadav, the PSPL chief agreed to campaign for the SP chief's wife in the Mainpuri bypoll, which was necessitated after party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, who represented the seat in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, died last month.
Shivpal Yadav said it was a phone call from Dimple Yadav that broke the ice.
"Daughter-in-law called me and said, 'uncle, I will contest (the bypoll), come with us', to which I told her to remain my witness and if Akhilesh does anything wrong again, to stand by me.... We will now remain together," the veteran leader told his supporters while holding informal meetings in Mainpuri on Friday.
A video of Shivpal Yadav's speech has gone viral on social media platforms.
The support of Shivpal Yadav, a popular leader in the area and a six-term MLA from the Jaswantnagar Assembly seat, which is part of the Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency, is important for the SP as it faces a stiff challenge from Raghuraj Singh Shakya of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Shakya has been fielded by the saffron party to exploit the rift in the Yadav family as he is a former Shivpal loyalist.
The recent bonhomie between Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav, the fourth such instance since they parted ways six years ago, assumes significance as both have been sharing an oblique relationship with each other since 2016.
The problems between them led Shivpal Yadav to float the PSPL in 2018. He even contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Firozabad against the SP.
For the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls held earlier in the year, Akhilesh Yadav had formed an alliance with Shivpal Yadav but given him only one seat -- Jaswantnagar -- from where the veteran leader contested on the SP's symbol.
However, after the poll results, the relations between the two soured once again and Shivpal Yadav was also seen siding with the BJP, especially during the presidential election.
While the veteran leader complained about his "neglect" in the SP, Akhilesh Yadav on several occasions highlighted his uncle's hobnobbing with the saffron party.
Indicating that the younger generation of the Yadav family has to look after the party affairs now, Shivpal Yadav said, "We will contest one or two more elections." "That is why it is a question of my reputation too. In the absence of Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav), it is a question of my prestige as well. That is why I request all of you with folded hands to start campaigning," he said.
The Mainpuri bypoll is slated for December 5 and the counting of votes will be taken up on December 8.