“When I was the CM, we won 36 seats in 2004 and three in the bypolls. This time, he (pointing to Akhilesh) is the CM and we won five seats. Why? I am finding it hard to explain this in Delhi,” said Mulayam, at a meeting with the party’s unsuccessful Lok Sabha candidates.
Citing the examples of other CMs, he said, “J Jayalalithaa won in Tamil Nadu, Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal, Naveen Patnaik in Orissa and even Parkash Singh Badal in Punjab. They won most of the seats in their states. What happened here? Why did we lose, can anyone tell me,” said Mulayam, while Akhilesh kept quiet.
The SP won only the five seats from where Mulayam and his family members contested. “With whom will I sit in Parliament,” Mulayam said during the meeting.
The party candidates were asked to give reasons for their defeat in writing. Some alleged sabotage by Akhilesh’s ministers, while others said the SP’s Yadav vote bank deserted the party amid the Modi wave. Some also blamed the local administration and the party’s decision to support the UPA government.
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Sources said Neeraj Shekhar, the SP candidate from Ballia, openly blamed State Sports Minister Narad Rai, pointing to records to show that he lost in Rai’s polling booth.
Shafeequr Rehman Barq, the party candidate from Sambhal, blamed Secondary Education Minister Iqbal Mehmood. “I was defeated as Mehmood supported the BSP candidate. I have told this to Netaji (Mulayam), it is now up to him to take action,” said Barq after the meeting.
Several candidates alleged that the local administration had acted against them and favoured the BJP in polling bogus votes. Shazan Masood, the SP candidate from Saharanpur, said the local administration aided Congress candidate Imran Masood.
Trying to boost the party’s morale, Mulayam said, “Whatever complaints you have mentioned are already with me. I will hold a separate meeting with ministers. Don’t worry, victory and defeat are part of elections. Remain among people and we will win again.”
The SP lost in most of the assembly segments held by Akhilesh’s ministers. Seven ministers who contested the polls also lost in their assembly segments. There is a demand in the party for removal of such ministers. Mulayam assured that the issue would be taken up.
Meanwhile, Mulayam and Akhilesh held a closed door meeting with Panchayati Raj Minister Balram Yadav and Mining Minister Gayatri Prajapati. Sources said Mulayam pulled up both the ministers. While there have been several complaints of corruption in the mining ministry, Prajapati failed to mobilise the most backward castes in the run-up to the polls.