Sulking uncle Shivpal Yadav used the Krishna Janmashtami festival Friday, with its special resonance for the Yadavs, added with a dash of mythology, to make a barely disguised attack on nephew Akhilesh Yadav.

He issued a message to fellow “Yadhuvanshis” and “Yadav veer”, on the festival, asking them to unite against forces like “those represented by Kansa”, who had tried to establish his rule by dethroning his father through treachery.

Ties between Shivpal, the founder and leader of the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia), have been strained ever since SP founder and his brother Mulayam Singh Yadav chose son Akhilesh as the inheritor of the reins of the Samajwadi Party (SP). While Shivpal fought and won the recent elections on an SP symbol, he has not returned to the SP.

Recently, Shivpal voted for the NDA’s candidate in the presidential election, Droupadi Murmu, though the SP had rallied behind the joint Opposition nominee, Yashwant Sinha. Irked over this and other potshots by Shivpal, plus signals that he was open to aligning with the BJP, Akhilesh then said that anyone who wanted to leave the SP’s side, was free to do so.

In his message Friday, Shivpal said: “Samaj mein jab bhi koi Kansa apne pita ko chhal-bal se apmanit kar, pad se hatakar anadhikrit adhipatya sthapit karta hai, to dharma ki raksha ke liye ma Yashoda ke lal, gvalon ke sakha, Yogeshwar Sri Krishna avashya avatar lete hain. Aur apni yog maya se atyachariyon ko danda dekar dharma ki sthapna karte hain (Whenever in the world a Kansa removes his father through treachery and establishes his reign, then, in order to save dharma, Yashoda’s son and the friend of milkmen Krishna is born. He punishes those behind such atrocities to re-establish dharma).”

The Yadavs consider Krishna as one of their own, belonging to the same community. Appealing directly to them, Shivpal said: “Mein chala dharma dhwaj liye hue, apna kartavya nibhane ko. Aahvaan tumhara Yadav veeron, der na karna aane ko (I have set off with the flag of dharma to fulfill my duties. I appeal to you Yadav heroes, to not delay joining me).”

Shivpal’s call to Yadavs is seen as a reminder that it was he who along with Mulayam founded the SP. Shivpal also said his party’s creation was the will of God.

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