Lucknow: Samajwadi Party mentor Mulayam Singh Yadav's younger daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav has courted controversy by reportedly saying she is opposed to caste-based reservation, with the opposition BJP jumping at the opportunity to corner the ruling party.
"The SP leadership will have to prove its allegiance to the OBCs, Scheduled Castes and Tribes by taking action against Aparna Yadav," the state BJP unit said.
Aparna Yadav, debuting as a Samajwadi Party candidate from Lucknow Cantt. assembly constituency, is married to Prateek Yadav, the younger son of Mulayam.
Aparna is pitted against Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who won the seat as a Congress candidate in 2012. Joshi has since joined the Bharatiya Janata Paty.
Aparna's stand on the sensitive women's reservation issue comes ahead of the seven-phase assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh between February 11 and March 8.
In an interview to a news website, Aparna also said she will not seek reservation for her daughter though she comes from a Yadav (Other Backward Caste) family. "We are a well-to-do family; so why should we take any caste-based reservation?" she said.
Known for her straightforward nature, be it taking out rallies against crime against women or clicking selfies with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Aparna Yadav has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Her "ambitions, overzealousness and political immaturity" are known to have angered Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on many occasions. Moreover, she is viewed as supportertive of Akhilesh's paternal uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav.
The BJP on Tuesday accused her of siding with people who, the party said, wanted to deprive the downtrodden and the marginalised castes of Uttar Pradesh of the benefits of reservation in jobs and educational institutions.
Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati, in a statement issued by the BJP state unit, said she was pained at Aparna's comments.
"This is a move by the Yadav clan to deprive dozens of castes, the landless farmers, carpenters and others from the benefits of reservation," Uma Bharti said and alleged that Aparna's stand had the approval of SP National President Akhilesh Yadav.