Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s decision to refrain from naming his son and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav as the party’s CM face in coming assembly elections is going to further widen the gap between the party old-guard and Akhilesh.
Akhilesh continues to display his isolation and resentment with the state of affairs in the party, publicly. He has a new office for his loyalists at Janeshwar Mishra Trust building and has said he is not in the know of ticket distribution.
Meanwhile, Mulayam continues to back himself and his brother SP state president Shivpal Yadav on all party affairs, indicating that he is either trying to hold together the fragile settlement between family member or he is trying to save Akhilesh from the blame of “impending defeat in elections”, as opposition leaders like Mayawati have claimed.
It remains to be seen how long Akhilesh can continue in the campaign without being the official CM face and with little say in the selection of candidates. If a better arrangement is not arrived at soon, it will further aggravate the crisis within the party and adversely impact its electoral prospects. Some of Akhilesh’s backers already and in private blame Mulayam for lasting damage to the party by undermining the CM.
Minister and SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary, who is close to Akhilesh, yesterday said that the CM is someone who does not believe in the politics of caste and creed and is against the mafia in politics. The statement is seen as distancing Akhilesh from the party’s decision to merge with the Quami Ekta Dal of MLA Mukhtar Ansari, a jailed gangster-politician.
In such a scenario, Akhilesh’s focus on the issue of development seems unlikely to resonate with voters. Sidelining him in the running of the SP’s affairs gives other parties an opportunity to exploit the situation. The BSP has already started a campaign to poach on SP’s Muslim support while the BJP is eyeing its backward caste backers .
Anti-incumbency along with the family dispute is expected to hurt the SP in elections while internal differences could worsen post elections.