Shivpal Yadav launched his own party, the Samajwadi Secular Front recently. (File)
Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, has allotted Mayawati's colossal bungalow in Lucknow to Shivpal Yadav, who quit his family-run Samajwadi Party recently and is seen to be gravitating towards the ruling BJP.
The 6, Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg residence, a towering legacy of Mayawati's years as Uttar Pradesh chief minister, has been vacant since May. The Supreme Court had ordered six former chief ministers to vacate their government bungalows.
Shivpal Yadav, the estranged uncle of former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, is the new occupant of the bungalow that has 12 bedrooms, 12 dressing rooms, four huge verandahs, two halls, kitchens, four security watch towers and staff quarters. There are eight AC plants and a 500 kilowatt sound proof generator for power back-up.
Shivpal Yadav launched his own party, the Samajwadi Secular Front, and declared that he would field candidates on all 80 parliamentary seats in next year's national election.
The Samajwadi Party rebel insisted there was "nothing political" about the allotment.
"It is wrong to say that the Yogi government has allotted this bungalow to me as a reward for waging a political war against Akhilesh Yadav. I am a five-time MLA (legislator), I am entitled to bigger government accommodation," Shivpal Yadav told NDTV.
But Yogi Adityanath's gesture is unlikely to pass off as a routine move. It is not clear yet whether Shivpal Yadav, who was deputy chief minister in the previous Samajwadi government, is entitled to a chief minister's bungalow.
Shivpal Yadav, 63, the younger brother of Mulayam Singh Yadav, has been feeling sidelined in the party and is believed to have met with BJP leaders recently.
Known for his organizational skills, Shivpal Yadav is said to be on the BJP's radar as a solution to the threat that is the combined power of Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav. Since the UP rivals joined forces, the BJP hasn't won a single by-election in the state where it scooped up 73 seats in 2014.
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