After closing ranks to stave off split in votes, the high and mighty in the Samajwadi Party have planned a strategy session in Lucknow on Friday to project a united face ahead of Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls due early next year. With an internal war sullying the image of the ruling party barely few months before the crucial elections, SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav has minced no words while cautioning senior party leaders against any split in votes.
There have been signs of a thaw and it would be for the first time, since the bitter family feud within the Yadav family came to the fore during middle of this year that Mulayam, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his uncles Shivpal and Ram Gopal would sit together sinking their differences.
The meeting is likely to dwell on the thorny issues of distribution of tickets to candidates and reinstatement of sacked ministers and party members, a party insider said. Mulayam recently revoked the expulsion of his cousin Ram Gopal Yadav, weeks after the MP was expelled for six years for publicly siding with Akhilesh. The crisis within the Yadav family pitted Akhilesh against his father Mulayam and uncle Shivpal, months ahead of the UP elections.
Fearing the repercussions of a divided house, SP is also contemplating taking back all its expelled leaders as a picture of disunity will help its opponents, the BSP and the BJP, in the battle of ballots. Muslim voters account for nearly 20 per cent of Uttar Pradesh population and can easily make or mar the electoral prospects of any party. The long-drawn internal war, which broke out some four months ago and spilled over into public domain, was keenly watched by SP’s political opponents which expected to gain from split in the ruling party’s vote bank.